CAIRO: A school bus driver in Giza tested positive for heroin in a random drug test campaign that kicked off Thursday, for the second consecutive year, announced the Ministry of Solidarity.
The campaign examined a number of drivers Thursday in Cairo, Giza and Qalubiya governorates. Thus far, it announced it had referred one driver to prosecution over drugged-driving.
This academic year, the campaign plans to test at total of 4,000 drivers at 600 private and international schools 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. A estimated 24 percent of Egyptian drivers, especially truck drivers, perform their work under the influence of drugs, according to a 2014 national survey by the Anti-Addiction Fund.
Recently, the government took a further step to limit the phenomenon by toughening the punishment to those caught while driving under the influence. Those breaking the law face up to three years in prison in case there are causalities.
The government’s escalated step is believed to be triggered by a 2014 crash in which 11 students burned to death; the crash involved a truck driver who tested positive for hashish.
Last year, around 7 percent of 1,400 school bus drivers tested positive for controlled substances.
Since adopting the new penalties, traffic authorities announced a decline in the number of drivers testing positive: 13 percent, compared to 30 percent before the adoption of the law.
Two weeks ago, however, the number rebounded slightly to 18 percent, Director of Anti-Addiction Fund Amr Othman told The Cairo Post.