Cyprus police officers are bit more than they can chew this year as they found three out of four tested drivers were under the influence of drugs.
In a total of 454 stops between January 25 and October 16, cops found that 313 drivers tested positive during a preliminary drug test, dubbed narcotest, while twelve others refused to give a sample.
The biggest number of drug-related DUI incidents (Driving under the Influence) was recorded in Paphos, with 83 drivers out of 99 tested came up positive according to daily Phileleftheros.
Half of Nicosia narcotests came up positive, where 85 drivers were tested and 43 came up positive, while 27 out of 65 Larnaca drivers were found to be under the influence. Highway incidents also were recorded where 56 out of 66 narcotests came up positive.
The government rolled out the narcotest in January as a way to reduce or prevent serious and fatal road accidents, following EU recommendations to make the streets safer.
Narcotest critics point out that traces of substances could take weeks to be flushed out of one's system, while many drive unaffected and fully alert
Law enforcement officers are required by law to send all positive samples to state labs for secondary screening, while cops have the power to detain suspects or prevent them from driving under the influence only based on the initial suspicion.
Most substances in lab test results involved mostly cannabis, cocaine, and methamphetamines, which can result to imprisonment up to three years and fines up to €3500.
Knews understands the narcotests that were administerded between January and October were not all completely random, as officers often use discretion before deciding to request a sample.
Based on protections afforded in the Constitution, drivers are not obligated to comply with a narcotest request regardless whether or not they are under the influence. However, Cyprus police traditionally view a refusal as grounds for suspicion while in many cases a refusal has been counted as “positive indication” of a DUI.
Critics of narcotests have pointed out that substances in a driver’s system could take weeks to be flushed out and many drive unaffected and fully alert, while officials from the Justice Ministry said revenue from DUI arrests go to fund activities against drug addition.