Conclusions and Recommendations for Roadside Testing

The ROSITA project studied 2968 subjects and compared 11 different urine on-site drug tests and 3 on-site oral fluid tests (one of which was used on sweat as well) in eight countries. From this experience, the following conclusions can be drawn (9).

3.5.1. Role of Roadside Drug Tests in EU Traffic Safety

There is a definite need for roadside drug tests in Europe. Roadside drug tests give confidence to police officers prosecuting DUID. Without an on-site tool to confirm the suspicion, police officers are often reluctant to prosecute. Roadside drug tests save both time and money by simplifying drug law-enforcement procedures and by obviating more expensive laboratory analysis. In addition, people who are not under the influence are minimally inconvenienced and can go on their way sooner.

Most subjects are impressed by the immediate results they see, even more so if the procedures are complex or if the results are read electronically. Often, the guilty parties would confess to the crime when confronted with a positive result, sometimes even after a long and vehement denial before seeing the test results.

3.5.2. Choice of Specimens for Roadside Testing

In all countries, blood is considered the best fluid for confirmation analysis, because the presence of drugs in blood corresponds best with recent use and impairment. The ROSITA study shows that a clear majority of European countries prefer oral fluid as the matrix for roadside testing, while one country favors sweat and one country favors urine. For oral fluid, the methods of collection as well as assay sensitivity need further improvements. A drawback of urine testing is that none of the test devices score high for all the drug categories tested. There is also no clear preference for the dip- or pipet-type devices. Cup-type devices would be preferred if they did not leak and if they required a smaller sample volume.

Despite the many practical problems associated with the project, police officers still believe that the results of the study are valuable. There is general feeling that a rapid and reliable testing device will greatly simplify their work and save time. There is also a preference for multi-analyte drug tests as well as electronic readers. A reference band on the testing device is deemed necessary.

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