Drug driving to be made a specific offence
Legislation to make driving under the influence of drugs a specific offence was announced in the Queen’s Speech last week.
Before the legislation, police had to demonstrate the driver’s ability had been impaired by drugs to be able to prosecute. However under the new rules police will have hand held devices similar to breathalysers to test the level of drugs in the body by the end of the year with penalties for the new offence be a maximum of six months jail, £5000 fine and an automatic driving ban.
The news has been welcomed by road safety groups including charity Brake were described it as “an incredibly important step forward”.
According to the Road Accidents and Safety Annual Report 2010 by the Department for Transport, there were 889 accidents caused as a result of drug driving, 42 of which led to fatalities.
Mike Penning is the Road Safety Minister:
“Drug-driver are a deadly menace – they must be stopped and that is exactly what I intend to do “The new offence sends out a clear message that if you drive while under the influence of drugs you will not get away with it.”
Content correct at time of publication