Changes to the drug driving law

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At the beginning of March the drug driving law changed to make it easier for the police to catch and convict drug drivers.

It is now an offence to drive with certain drugs above a specified level in your blood – just as it is with drink driving. Sixteen legal and illegal drugs are covered by the law, including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. The limits for all illegal drugs are extremely low – taking even a very small amount of an illegal drug could put you over the limit.

The new offence will work alongside the existing offence of driving whilst impaired through drink or drugs.

The penalties for drug driving are the same as for drink driving. If convicted you will receive a minimum 12-month driving ban; a criminal record; and a fine of up to £5000 or up to six months in prison or both.

Through its THINK! Campaign, the Department for Transport stresses that the consequences of a drug drive conviction are far reaching and can include: job loss; loss of independence; the shame of having a criminal record; increase in vehicle insurance costs; and problems getting in to countries such as the USA.

“Driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous and can affect driving skills in a number of ways,” says the campaign.

“Drug drivers can suffer from slower reaction times, erratic and aggressive behaviour, and inability to concentrate properly, nausea, hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, tremors, dizziness and fatigue. Driving in any of these conditions is a bad idea – not just for the driver but for their passengers and other road users.”

think.direct.gov.uk/drug-driving.html

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