AlphaBiolabs has been appointed to conduct random drug testing on taxi and private hire drivers in Liverpool after a new policy was approved by councillors.
Testing is due to begin before Christmas and continue on a monthly basis.
The new policy was approved by Liverpool City Council’s licensing committee and is being implemented in the interests of public safety.
Liverpool City Council, which currently licenses over 4,300 taxi and private hire drivers, said a small minority use illegal drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine.
The council said it views such drug use as completely incompatible with being fit and proper persons to be entrusted with the safe carriage of the general public, as well as the dangers presented to other road users.
Between May 2018 and May 2019, a total of 114 licensed drivers were arrested on suspicion of drug-driving.
A consultation process conducted by the council during September and October found overwhelming support for the introduction of random drug testing.
The new policy will also involve intelligence-led testing, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect the misuse of drugs.
Drivers with a drug-related conviction or caution who apply for a new licence or a renewal may also be required to undergo a test.
The policy is being introduced to detect drivers who use illegal drugs, to deter them and others from doing so and to offer peace of mind to the public.
Liverpool councillors have urged other local authorities in the region to follow suit.
David Thomas, managing director of AlphaBiolabs, said: “We have been working with Liverpool City Council for some time, providing drug and alcohol testing for Children’s Services. We are now thrilled to be helping the council with this random testing which will help keep drivers safe as well as members of the public.”
AlphaBiolabs will take urine samples from drivers and analyse them at the company’s accredited laboratory at its headquarters in Warrington.
The company has developed state-of-the-art lab techniques to provide a rapid, accurate historical record of drug use. Urine, oral fluid and hair analysis can detect illegal drugs that have been consumed from 72 hours up to 28 days previously.
Workplace drug and alcohol testing is a burgeoning part of AlphaBiolabs’ business. The company already carries out testing across industries such as aviation, construction, logistics and manufacturing.
David said: “Random drug testing is one of the best ways to ensure that employees are working in a safe environment.
“Many studies show that it is effective in reducing accidents and incidents, ill-health, absenteeism and litigation, all of which have an impact on productivity and can save companies and organisations thousands of pounds in lost revenue.”