Suffolk Police has been granted an extra £120,000 to invest in technology to identify those driving under the influence of drugs.
The money has come from Suffolk Roadsafe and will be used to buy kits that allow officers to analyse a sample of a driver’s saliva at the roadside. Various substances can be identified, including cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
Between April and October, 1,050 people were tested for drugs by officers from Suffolk Constabulary, with 331 returning a positive result.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said those who flout drug-drive laws were “irresponsible and selfish”.
“We have made a conscious decision tackle this issue because keeping our roads safe and moving is critical to our economy,” he added.
Tougher legislation was introduced in 2015 covering legal driving limits for 17 illegal and prescription drugs.
Under the old laws, police had to show driving was impaired by drugs to prosecute but the changes have made it a specific offence to drive after consuming certain substances above prescribed levels.
Those caught face a minimum 12-month driving ban, up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a criminal record.
People are not penalised if they use prescription drugs within recommended amounts, but they must seek doctors’ advice – including if that advice is not to drive while taking certain substances.
How can our lawyers help you?
It can be easy to fall foul of the new laws, even if you are only a very occasional drug user because the limit is set so low.
Meanwhile, those on medication may have got behind the wheel in the belief they were safe to do so only to later discover they are over the legal limit.
Our lawyers, based in Ipswich can provide you with specialist advice on drug driving offences.
To find out more, contact Hugh Rowland on 01473 298141 or email [email protected]