New drug driving law takes effect

New drug driving law takes effect

A new law came into force Monday March 2nd to help police catch drug drivers.

It is now illegal to drive in England and Wales with certain levels drugs in the body.

The new legislation will help police catch and convict drug drivers who now face a criminal record, loss of their licence for up to a year and a fine of up to £5000.

The list of drugs effected by the law includes eight illegal and eight prescription drugs.

Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The government’s message is clear – if you take drugs and drive, you are endangering yourself and others and you risk losing your licence and a conviction.”

The changes will significantly lower the acceptable limits of certain drugs in the blood stream, and has set a legal limit for police to test suspected drug drivers.

Officers can screen drivers for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside. Other illegal drugs including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin will be tested at a police station, even if a driver passes the roadside check.

Prescription drugs which are sometimes abused have been set a higher limit, based on evidence of the road safety risk and to reflect their use as medicines.

Sarah Sillars, chief executive officer at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, 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.”

The new drug drive law, also known as Lillian’s Law, is also being welcomed by the family of 14 year old Croydon school girl Lillian Groves, who was killed outside her home by a speeding driver on cannabis in June 2010.

Lillian’s mum, Natasha Groves, said: “We are pleased the government has taken on board the severity of drug driving and acted accordingly by implementing zero-tolerance limits, roadside drug testing and serious penalties for those found guilty.”

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