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New Drug-Driving Laws Start Today - What You Need To Know

posted on Mar 02 2015 by Kiri Nowak

New Drug-Driving Laws Start Today - What You Need To Know

‘Driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous. This new law will save lives.’ Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill.

New drug-driving laws are to be introduced from today in an effort to crack down on people driving under the influence of drugs. All drivers should be aware of the new laws that will be enforced from today.

Police have previously been more focused on alcohol but they now have new powers to catch people who are taking drugs and then driving their cars. Previously if officers suspected that someone was on drugs whilst driving they would have to prove they were too impaired to drive. Now a simple test means that’s not necessary.

Police can now stop motorists and do a swab test to measure the level of drugs in a person’s system. The swab test is is taken from inside a person’s cheek. Police can test drivers for drugs such as cocaine and cannabis in under ten minutes. This makes it far easier to prosecute offenders because police now have clear proof. Drivers risk being prosecuted if they exceed limits on eight prescription drugs and eight illegal drugs.

There’s a common misconception that drugs don’t impair your ability to drive like alcohol does, but of course that’s not true. Many people claim that drugs don’t affect them, research by THINK! found that ‘more than half of those who admitted to driving under the influence of illegal drugs said they felt safe behind the wheel.’

Driving under the influence of alcohol can reduce your reaction time, decision making and have a significant impact on your ability to focus and your emotional state. The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that ‘drivers are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for the accident than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol.’

Before you stop reading thinking this definitely doesn’t concern you because you obviously don’t take drugs, be aware that the list of substances also includes prescription drugs. They might be legal but you should not be taking them in illegal amounts that could have an impact on your driving. The lists of prescription drugs includes:

  • Amphetamine

  • Clonazepam

  • Diazepam

  • Flunitrazepam

  • Lorazepam

  • Methadone

  • Morphine

  • Oxazepam

  • Temazepam

These each have a legal limit set per litre of blood.

The consequences

From today people who risk driving after taking drugs face more chance of being caught and harsh punishments. Those found with illegal quantities of legal medication or illegal drugs in their system could get anything from a 12-month driving ban and a £5,000 fine to six months in prison.

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