Traffic police on duty. | Javier Cebollada - EFE


The prosecution service has given instructions to traffic police which allow the police to record drivers who display signs of having taken drugs.

This will be in addition to the current saliva test.

These instructions have gone out to the Guardia Civil, the separate forces in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Navarre and local police forces; they came into effect yesterday.

Evidence from recordings will be admissible in court.

Bartolomé Vargas, the prosecution service’s coordinator for road safety, says that the intention is to give officers additional support in presenting evidence to judges so that courts can decide if they proceed with sentencing.

Of a total of 53,173 sentences for driving under the influence of drink and drugs in 2018, fewer than 200 were for drugs. Vargas explains that the prosecution service is responding to data released on Wednesday by the National Toxicology Institute. These show that deaths of drivers who had taken drugs (typically cannabis or cocaine) increased from 10.7% of all fatalities in 2008 to 19.1% in 2018.