By January 15 the narcotest to check if drivers are under the influence of drugs will be implemented, justice minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Friday.
The minister said on the sidelines of a visit to the central prison that a decree will first be issued, subject to approval by the cabinet, which will discuss the subject on January 9.
“Following the adoption of the decree, the authorities are ready for immediate implementation of the narcotest,” he said, adding that the need for the test was derived from data on road accidents.
Asked to clarify how the drug test will be carried out, Nicolaou said each case will be assessed individually.
He said a police officer can check for alcohol and also ask the driver to take the narcotest at the same time.
Nicolaou added that this will not be something every driver has to do, but is a targeted measure.
It is similar to a breathalyzer test, only instead of breath saliva will be used.
In case of doubt, the saliva sample will be examined by the state laboratory.
The test can detect all types of substances, including cannabis, cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.
Offenders face a fine of €3,500 and a three-year imprisonment. They also risk losing their driving licenses for a maximum of three years and earning three to six penalty points.
Revenue from drug-related driving convictions will be paid into a special fund to tackle drug addiction.
The law, which was passed in 2016 after five years of discussion, states that as well as people driving under the influence of drugs any driver who refuses to give saliva or blood for testing will be committing an offence.