Police Vauxhall AstraNew drug driving test kits will be used by English and Welsh police forces during the Christmas and New Year break after approval by ministers.

The new kits, which test saliva to detect both illegal drugs and ‘legal highs’, have already been dubbed drugalysers.

They will be carried by police forces alongside the familiar breathalysers. Officers are already receiving their kits and widespread implementation is expected in time for Christmas.

Department for Transport figures say drug driving is responsible for around 200 deaths a year.

In March 2015, new laws will make it the detection of certain drugs illegal; currently, the police have to prove that driving was impaired by drugs, in what’s called a ‘field impairment assessment’.

Penalties for drug driving are the same as drink driving: a minimum 12-month driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison – or both – and a criminal record.