Drug drivers to be caught more easily under new law

March 4 2015  

Drug drivers to be caught more easily under new law

Introduction of a new law which makes it easier to catch and convict people driving under the influence of illegal drugs has been welcomed as a big step forward for road safety.

The legislation, which took effect in England and Wales on Monday, makes it an offence to drive with certain drugs in the body above specified levels, including eight illegal and eight prescription drugs.

This means police will no longer need to prove that driving was impaired, but can simply obtain a blood sample to demonstrate whether any of the specified drugs are present above the limit. It remains an offence to drive when impaired by any drug.

Institute of Advanced Motorists’ chief executive Sarah Sillars said: “The new law is a real step in the right direction for the eradication of driving under the influence of drugs.

“Many drugs impair the senses to a massive degree: if you are not in full control of your vehicle, you become a severe danger to yourself, your passengers and other road users. Now, at last, there is a real deterrent,” she added.

The law also allows police forces access to new screening equipment to test suspected drug drivers, including roadside devices to test for cannabis and cocaine.

Drivers can be screened for other drugs including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at a police station while more advanced roadside equipment is expected to be developed in the future.

Road safety training provider TTC Group’s managing director Des Morrison said: “We have been campaigning for years for action to be taken against those whose driving is impaired by drugs and this new law will make our roads safer.

“Drug driving will become as anti social as drink driving is now,” he predicted.

Further planned legislation aimed at preventing offenders from escaping prosecution through loopholes in the law goes before the House of Lords today.

(Photo: Think!/Jon Enoch)

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