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Drug Driving Samples – Symptom of a bigger problem?

Written by: Alan Baker 28th June, 2019

It’s perhaps fair to say that the Drug Driving legislation introduced in 2015 is the most successful piece of motoring law in the last 40 years. What started with less than 10% successful prosecutions, now results in at least 90% of cases ensuring a conviction.

It is also fair to say that whilst the statutory limits for most drugs amount to “zero tolerance” and are not a measure of driving impairment, the legislation must have made our roads safer.

The seemingly unresolved Randox scandal of 2017 continues to cause concerns amongst convicted drug drivers and the legal profession but at least drivers used to have the realistic chance of getting their own sample independently tested within the timetable set-down by the Courts.

However, the forensic world is in crisis and it is best highlighted by fact that one of the UK’s largest forensic providers, Eurofins, are in the middle of an IT nightmare and currently not processing new cases. The associated disruption across all service providers means that Joe Public are scrambling around to get their blood sample independently tested in time.

Therein lies the problem; any biological sample needs to be analysed ASAP and even though refrigeration will help decrease any sample degradation, the likelihood of waiting months for it to be tested will cause problems for the individual and the broader CJS.

The answer is not simple but the recent past has shown so many examples of commercial pressure versus delivery and I’m not sure how much more evidence is needed for the complete renationalisation of our forensic science services wherever the political “cost.”