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New drug driving law comes into force

03 March 2015 #Logistics #News #Policy #Top Stories

A new anti-drug driving law comes into effect in England and Wales from 2 March, making it a criminal offence to drive with drugs in your body. The new ruling removes the need to prove impairment and makes prosecution easier to secure.

It’s estimated that drug driving accounts for as many as 200 deaths a year in the UK. A survey last year by road safety charity Brake found that the equivalent of one million drivers (3%) admitted to having driven on drugs during the course of the previous 12 months. One in nine (11%) said they had been a passenger with a driver on drugs.

The new law also clarifies the position for drivers using medication, with set limits for a number of prescribed drugs that can affect driving. Drivers taking medication in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional will not be at risk of arrest. However, some prescription and over-the-counter medications can make drivers unsafe on the road, and anyone unsure about effects should always read the label, check with their doctor or pharmacist, and never drive if they may be impaired.

Brake is issuing new guidance for employers and drivers on addressing drink and drug driving in the workplace, with advice and information on testing policies and raising awareness.

Nigel Base, Commercial Vehicle Development Manager for SMMT said, “We welcome the government’s approach in taking a zero-tolerance stance to the damaging practice of drug-driving. However this needs to be supported with the appropriate investment in traffic policing to ensure these new laws are enforced and managed.”

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