CAIRO: Random drug tests to school bus drivers will kick off Sunday, coinciding with the beginning of the academic year across the country.
The tests are part of a governmental campaign, launched last year, aiming to reduce road accidents caused by driving under the influence.
In 2014, tests of 1,400 school bus drivers showed 7 percent testing positive. This academic year, the campaign will include some 4,000 drivers at a total of 600 private and international schools across the country.
The government has recently toughened punishment to drivers found under the influence after 11 students burned to death in a 2014 crash, which involved a truck driver who tested positive for hashish.
A 2014 national survey by the Anti-Addiction Fund indicated that 24 percent of Egyptian drivers, especially truck drivers, perform their work under the influence of drugs.
Traffic officials and members of the Anti-Addiction Fund were quoted as saying that the amended law has cornered the drivers between three choices: either to “seek treatment, quit their job or face imprisonment,” which could be up to three years in jail.
Authorities have also noted a decline in the number of drivers testing positive to 13 percent compared to before adopting the law, which recorded about 30 percent.
Two weeks ago, however, the number rebounded slightly to 18 percent, Director of Anti-Addiction Fund Amr Othman told The Cairo Post.
The campaign is part of a protocol signed by the Fund and ministries of interior, health and education.
A total of 14, 403 road accidents and 6, 226 fatalities were recorded in Egypt in 2014, according to a report by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS.)
A Road Safety Project called “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020” was launched by the United Nations in collaboration with the World Health Organization to further road safety in 10 countries, including Egypt.