By: Mariam Abu Bakr
CAIRO: Transport Ministry said it will conduct random drugs test for train and metro drivers “in the interest of the safety of the public,” Youm7 reported Wednesday.
Head of Egypt’s Railways Authority Major General Ahmed Hamid said random checks will be carried out on about 200 workers each day besides the regular check-ups made by the authority’s medical center.
The authority is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Solidarity Fund to fight against drug addiction that can impair driving; Hamid was quoted as saying by Youm7.
In 2014, a school bus collided with a private car killing 18 teenagers in Egypt’s Delta governorate of Beheira. The bus driver tested positive for hashish (Cannabis). Following the accident, the cabinet agreed to amend the traffic law No. 66 of 1973 and intensive campaigns have been carried out to fight against illegal drug use.
New roadside devices to test motorists for illegal drugs and medicines have been installed in random checkpoints across the country.
Egyptian bus and truck drivers are increasingly turning to prescription drugs such as tramadol in a bid to work longer hours. Truck drivers who test positive justify their actions by saying they have to stay awake for long hours and only drugs can help them do that.
Use of illegal drugs while driving can trigger the same consequences as drinking alcohol, which threatens the safety of the driver and the passengers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drugs can affect reaction time, motor coordination, attention, and judgment of time and distance.