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Egypt Launches Random Drug Testing Campaign for School Bus Drivers

Egypt Launches Random Drug Testing Campaign for School Bus Drivers

Relatives of students and members of the public look at the wreckage of a school bus after it crashed in Damanhur November 5, 2014. Credit: Reuters
Relatives of students and members of the public look at the wreckage of a school bus after it crashed in Damanhur November 5, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Random drug testing has been conducted on school bus drivers since Thursday, and will continue until the end of the school year. The tests, which are part of a nationwide governmental campaign, aim to reduce accidents caused by driving under the influence.

Following the death of 11 students in 2014 in an accident that was caused by a truck driver who was under the influence of hashish, governmental authorities have put in effect a harsher legislation for driving under the influence.

Under the new law, drivers who test positive for driving under the influence face up to three years in prison in case of casualties. According to traffic officials and members of the Anti-Addiction Fund, drivers who test positive for driving while intoxicated have three possible tracks to take, either seek treatment, quit their jobs or face imprisonment, the Cairo Post reported.

Authorities stated that there was a heavy decline in the number of drivers testing positive for drug use to 13 percent compared to the number before adopting the law, which was 30 percent.

However, the number of drivers testing positive for driving under the influence increased to 18 percent in September 2015, stated Amr Othman, Director of Anti-Addiction Fund.

On the launching day of the campaign on Thursday, a school bus driver in the Giza district tested positive for heroin abuse. A relatively small numbers of drivers were tested in Greater Cairo –Cairo, Giza and Qalyubia governorates- so far and therefore, only one driver will be prosecuted for driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

In 2014, a total of over 14,000 accidents and over 6,000 deaths were recorded, reported the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Also, seven percent of 1,400 school bus drivers in the country tested positive for the use of controlled and banned substances.

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