The dangers of drink driving have been preached to us for years now and we’re all well aware of the consequences and laws regarding drinking alcohol and then getting into our cars. Similarly, new regulations have just been introduced to England and Wales to stop people from driving while they are under the influence of drugs.
From now on, police will be able to use ‘drugalyser’ devises at the roadside and anyone found to be on drugs whilst driving will face prosecution if they exceed the new set limits. The rules run alongside the existing law which states that it’s an offence to drive while impaired by any drug.
Existing penalties mean that drivers already face a fine of up to £5,000, up to six months in prison and a minimum one-year driving ban. The new regulations have set low tolerance levels for eight illegal drugs with higher levels set for some prescription drugs including morphine and methadone.
David Taylor, a professor of psychopharmacology at King’s College, London said the new rules will act as a much stronger deterrent and make prosecutions much easier. He also warned that any exposure would render people over the limit and leave them over the limit for up to 36 hours.
Many have raised concerns about the effect this could have on those who safely and legally take prescription drugs. It has been emphasised however that those using prescription drugs within their recommended amounts will not be penalised. Taylor also recommended that drivers who take prescription drugs carry proof with them so they can produce it at the roadside if necessary.