The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Monday, 16 December

Brake on Drug Drivers Comes into Force

For the first time ever limits have been set for illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, LSD and cannabis as well as a number of medicinal drugs including morphine and methadone.

The new procedure will bring detection of drug driving into line with the widely understood drink driving enforcement procedure. Police will no longer need to prove that driving was impaired. They will only need to obtain a blood sample and show that any of the specified drugs are present above the prescribed limit.

The new law has specified zero-tolerance limits for a range of illegal drugs, and will be enforced with the aid of roadside screening devices. Those found guilty will face a maximum six month jail sentence, £5,000 fine and automatic 12 month driving ban.

The extent of the UK’s drug driving problem was revealed by the road charity, Brake last year. In its survey it found that the equivalent of 1 million drivers (3%) admitted to having driven on drugs in the past year. One in nine (11%) said they thought they had been a passenger with a driver on drugs. According to the Department for Transport, it is estimated that drug driving may account for as many as 200 deaths a year in the UK.

“We believe the government is doing the right thing by taking a zero tolerance approach; we hope this will make it clear that driving on any amount of drugs won’t be tolerated,” said Julie Townsend, Deputy Chief Executive, Brake. “The crucial next step to back up this and other vital life-saving traffic laws is for government to give greater priority to traffic policing, to ensure the recent trend of falling traffic police numbers is reversed.”

 

Delay

There have been some reservations expressed by both the police themselves and lawyers. "There will be a temporary delay while we ensure our equipment has the right certification and our officers have the right training and understand the required procedures," explained Mark Dexter, Police Chief Inspector, Greater Manchester Police. He also expressed a need for clarification for the legal aspects.

The prescription drugs that fall under the new law include morphine, Temazepam, Oxazepam, Diazepam and Methadone. 

As far as any problems arising from dealing with those who were using legal prescription drugs, Damien Simmonds, a lawyer at JMW solicitors in Manchester, thought the change could create legal "complications". Talking to BBC Manchester, Mr Simmonds said many users of prescription drugs who "feel they have done nothing wrong" might find themselves prosecuted for failing to provide roadside samples to police.

"There's a lot of people driving on levels they feel comfortable with, that they've been prescribed," he told BBC Radio Manchester.

Picture: While some have expressed a degree of caution over the new law on drug driving, many road charities have welcomed the legislation.

Article written by Mike Gannon

Share



Related Articles

Warning Signs Out for Killer Drivers

36 police forces took part in the campaign in November stopping 10,012 vehicles and detecting nearly 8,000 mobile phone offences, the highest ever total for a week of...

 Read Full Article
Texting and Surfing Driver Jailed for Killing Pensioner

A man who was browsing the web on his phone looking at cars moments before he killed a pensioner has been jailed for 13-and-a-half months. Edward Devlin, 21, from...

 Read Full Article
Mobile Madness - Bigger Penalties to Come

At the end of last week (and big news across the weekend), the government has declared plans to make using a handheld device whilst driving a fixed six point penalty...

 Read Full Article
15 Done in Teddy Bear Pic Nick

What seemed like a serious crash this morning on the A14 didn't deter some motorists from filming of taking pictures from the opposite highway.  15 in total will...

 Read Full Article
Getaway Cars - Motorist Flout Law but Bobbies don't Bother

Following TWinFM’s widespread coverage of the dangers of mobile use at the wheel and high profile prosecutions, the latest police figures are bound to cause...

 Read Full Article
Operation Safeway - Road User Clampdown

From Monday, 16 February, London’s streets have seen an additional 600 Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC) officers operating at strategic locations to 166...

 Read Full Article
Not in Front of the Children - Smoking Ban When the Kids are in Tow

According to government figures, 3 million children are at risk from secondary smoking in vehicles and the law on banning this will come into force on 1 October 2015 in...

 Read Full Article
Six Years for Mobile Phone Driving Deaths

Marina Usaceva from Peterborough has been jailed for six years for causing death by dangerous driving. She caused an accident when making calls on two mobile phones...

 Read Full Article
Parking Grinches Set To Steal Christmas

English councils and their evil contractor cohorts made a record £819 million from parking operations in the last financial year. This is 40% higher than the...

 Read Full Article
THINK! Drink

Tell your friends not to drink drive this festive period says the latest THINK! campaign which started on December 7. For this year’s campaign, which runs to...

 Read Full Article