Survey of Operational User and Legal Requirements Across Member States of the European Union for Roadside Testing Devices

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During the initial phase of the ROSITA project, member countries collected and evaluated the specific needs and requirements of the European police forces (5). Representatives and experts for traffic safety and DUID in 21 European countries were asked to supply country-specific information by means of a structured questionnaire. Despite the fact that the majority of the European countries had not established sufficient legal conditions to fight DUID, European police forces had a rather clear picture, based on their national experiences and circumstances, of what they needed under their specific operational environment. These needs and requirements differed from country to country and sometimes even from state to state within the same country. Nevertheless, the essential requirements of roadside drug-testing devices were identified in this survey.

3.3.1. Main Target Drugs in Europe

The following classes of drugs were considered to be important enough (in decreasing order of frequency) to be included in the testing: cannabis, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, cocaine, and opiates. In Europe, cannabis is the most popular drug of abuse appearing in street traffic. This is followed by benzodiazepines, which are components of several prescribed medicines and are easily accessible. The amphetamine group also includes such "designer" drugs as methamphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and MDMA. Their use is very prevalent among people under 25 yr of age.

3.3.2. Preferred Specimen for Roadside Testing

According to European police, oral fluid was the preferred test specimen for roadside testing because of its ready availability, low level of invasiveness, and good correlation with impairment. Sweat was the second most preferred testing specimen, for similar reasons. In addition, sweat testing does not require cooperation from the drivers.

3.3.3. Test Format and Target Price

The preferred test configuration was a single-use, multi-parameter test, which was able to provide a clear, unambiguous test result on the above-mentioned groups of drugs within 5 min. The average price considered reasonable in the context of this survey for a single-parameter device was €3.9 and for a four-parameter device was €14.0.

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