From the 2nd March, police will have the ability to drug test all drivers who they believe are impaired by drugs.
The new regulations come into force in England and Wales for drivers who exceed the limits set for the presence of eight illegal drugs and eight prescription drugs:
Drug Limit (microgrammes per litre of blood)
Benzoylecgonine (indicates previous cocaine use) 50
Delta -9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Marijuana) 2
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) 1
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstacy) 10
6-Monoacetylmorphine (indicates previous heroin use) 5
If convicted, the penalties are up to £5,000 fine, sentences are a minimum 1 year driving disqualification plus a maximum of 6 months imprisonment. DVLA will notify the Traffic Commissioner of the conviction. The Traffic Commissioner’s Guidance for Drink Driving offences, recommends imposing an additional HGV driving ban if the court imposes more than the minimum 1 year disqualification. No doubt the Traffic Commissioner will take the same approach to Drug Driving.
Allegations of Drug Driving can be defended if the driver can show that the drug was prescribed for medical or dental reasons and was taken in accordance with the instructions given.
If you are a Transport Operator, you are strongly advised to put in place clear policies and procedures requiring drivers to notify them of prescription drug use and to consent to random drug testing.
If you are a road user, check your prescription carefully before driving.
Campaigners welcomed the move and ministers said it would save lives, but a motoring lawyer said the impact on prescription drug users was a concern.
For more information on this or any driving offence, contact our team of transport and criminal lawyers on 01473 211121. Offices in Ipswich, Hadleigh and Felixstowe.