UK Police Developments Keep Drivers On Their Toes
Police forces in the UK will see a couple of notable upgrades to the way they operate that should go some way towards boosting safety levels on Britain’s highways. One change is strictly for the West Midlands but the others will affect roads across the country.
The most significant change will be the introduction of mobile drug testing for drivers. Use of the devices, informally known as ‘drugalysers’, will soon be approved by the government.
British motorists are already well aware that police regularly test drivers suspected of having consumed more than the legal amount of alcohol. Within a few months, however, motorists will face roadside tests for the presence of illegal substances in their blood.
At first, the devices used to test drivers thought to be driving under the influence of illegal drugs will be introduced in police stations. Soon after the drugalyser will be used at the side of the road.
The UK is not the first country to make this move. Drivers in Spain, Australia and Croatia are already subjected to roadside testing for the use of banned drugs.
The latest development follows a road safety report published by the government last year. The report highlighted the ineffectiveness of current drug tests.
Under existing rules, when police suspect a driver may be on drugs, they administer what is called the ‘Field Impairment Test’. Drivers are asked to perform a series of exercises, including standing on one leg.
If the driver is judged to have failed this test, they are taken to the police station. They then have to wait for a physician to do a blood test. The main problem with this procedure is that drugs can clear from driver’s blood before the doctor is able to perform a test.
Meanwhile, motorists in the West Midlands will want to be extra careful not to break the speed limit, after sports car maker Lotus donated a high-performance coupe to be used as a liveried police car. The Lotus Evora, in full panda-car paint complete with a roof-mounted light bar, can reach nearly 170mph, making it the fastest police car in the UK and one of the fastest in the world.
Hopefully, traffic cops in the West Midlands will never be forced to test the car’s top speed but the Evora’s performance should be enough to dissuade any motorist from attempting to flee the police. With a 3.5-litre V6 engine that produces 276bhp, the Evora can accelerate from standstill to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds.
If you’re hoping to see the brightly-coloured supercar, you’ll need to get yourself to the West Midlands soon. The car is expected to patrol the M6, the M5 and the M42 motorways, and the M6 toll road, but it won’t be around for long – Lotus has only loaned it to the police for two weeks under a trial.
Launched by Lotus in 2009, the Evora is built on the first all-new car platform produced by Lotus Cars since it brought out the Lotus Elise more than 15 years ago. The Evora is available as a two-seater or in a ‘2+2’ configuration, which puts a couple of small seats in the back.
Lotus is famed for producing cars with outstanding grip and handling, and the Evora maintains this fine motorsports-bred tradition. The car’s engine sits in the middle of the car, just behind the passenger compartment, giving the 1,350kg vehicle optimum weight distribution.
PC Angus Nairn of the West Midlands was keen to point out the hoped-for benefits of the Lotus. He said it was expected to deter motorists from speeding or trying to run from the police. He added that the flashy motor might help recruit new members to the police force.