MOTORISTS will soon face American-style roadside tests as part of a campaign to combat a rise in drug-drive incidents.

Cheshire Police are to use the tests on drivers they suspect are under the influence of drugs.

Officers will get motorists to perform tasks including standing on one leg for 30 seconds as well as checking to see if a driver's pupils are dilated.

PC Robbie Burns is heading the introduction of the scheme across Cheshire.

He said: 'I don't think people are aware of how driving is affected by drugs. There is a general acceptance of drug-driving among young people in particular even though the penalties are the same as for drink-driving.

'Drug-driving is the evil twin sister of drink-driving in my eyes and we intend to make drug-driving as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.'

Now officers can screen for drugs and perform a preliminary test at the roadside or police station.

The Field Impairment Tests (FIT) which are already used in America can be given to drivers by trained officers who suspect their driving is impaired by illicit drugs such as cannabis, heroin and ecstasy, or prescribed drugs which affect reactions.

Drivers who refuse to take them can be arrested.

PC Burns added: 'We have trained 120 officers and should have 140 to 150 officers trained by the end of April.

'The FIT will help tackle the dangers of drug and drink driving and will hopefully lead to a reduction in the number of fatal and serious collisions involving impaired drivers on Cheshire roads.

'It's already proving quite successful. Over Christmas we did 12 tests with six rated as performed 'poorly' - there is no pass or fail in FITs - so that's a 50% hit rate.'

News of the tests comes less than a month after Liam Cunliffe 30, of Manor Avenue in Crewe, was jailed for nine years and banned from driving for 10 years after admitting causing the deaths of Willaston couple Franz and Janice Beran, both 65, and Crewe men Lee Roberts, 21, and Darren Wilson, 34.

He caused a collision on the notorious A530 Middlewich Road at the Wistaston Green Road junction in Crewe while speeding close to 90mph, twice over the legal drink-drive limit and high on cocaine.


In the Field Impairment Tests, drivers are asked to perform five exercises which police officers assess to detect if they are under the influence of drugs. An eye examination where the officer checks the size of the driver's pupil. The Romberg Test where the driver is asked to close his or her eyes and tell the officer when 30 seconds has passed. The Walk and Turn Test, walking nine steps along a line and back. One Leg Stand Test, standing on one leg and counting out loud for 30 seconds. The Finger to Nose Test, touching the finger to the nose.