Police have arrested 170 people for drug driving offences during the last 10 months.
The drivers were arrested across Cleveland and Durham by officers using a ‘Drugwipe’ kit to take a mouth swab from anyone they suspect to be driving under the influence of illegal drugs.
Regulations set low levels for a number of illegal substances, with higher levels set for eight prescription drugs, including morphine and methadone.
Acting chief inspector Mark Pitt said: “This legislation allows officers to test people they suspect of driving whilst under the influence of drugs at the roadside by taking a mouth swab. If the sample provided is positive they can be arrested taken into police custody and will be required to provide an evidential sample.
“Those convicted can face a driving ban and can be fined up to £5,000 or even go to prison, the penalty could be up to 14 years in jail for causing death by dangerous driving.
“On a daily basis we strive to reduce the number of casualties and fatalities on our roads and this new legislation helps us to do so. We want to keep people safe and we will continue to use this new law to assist us in doing so.
“I would welcome any information regarding anyone who may be driving on our roads whilst under the influence of drugs and I would ask that they contact police on 101 so that we can take positive action.”