Traffic police will be boosting the number of drug tests conducted on drivers after figures showed a growing number of positive narcotest results.
According to the figures that were presented at a recent meeting, 75% of those drivers tested for narcotic substances tested positive.
Currently, traffic police conduct around 600 narcotests a year, with the high figure of those testing positive reflected in that police test drivers selectively and only if suspicions are raised.
But current abilities of traffic police to conduct more narcotests are weighed down by the state lab’s inability to process a large number of samples due to only having one machine.
The matter was raised last Friday when justice minister Emily Yioliti visited the police’s traffic department, with its head Yiannakis Georgiou noting that a boost in the number of tests will very likely detect more drivers under the influence of narcotics.
Processing a narcotest sample costs the state €15-€20, Georgiou said.
Coordinated efforts between the justice ministry and the police traffic department led to a deal with the state laboratory, which will be procuring a second machine to process narcotest samples and hiring two more members of staff that will work the machine.
These developments will allow the number of narcotests conducted yearly to increase to 1,000, allowing law enforcement authorities to more effectively clamp down on drivers who use narcotic substances before getting behind the wheel.
Police are also expected to focus on increasing the number of narcotests at areas where current figures show there are more drivers testing positive, such as Paphos and Limassol.