Ministers are stepping in to introduce new laws to clamp down on drug driving. Offenders could find themselves being prosecuted and sentenced to up to 6 months according to latest reports. Ultimately the aim of this new legislation is to protect honest motorists and pedestrians from unnecessary accidents caused by the impaired driving ability of drug takers. In addition to time behind bars a substantial fine of up to £5,000 and a minimum driving ban of 12 months will be enforced against offenders.
This political move focuses on using specialist equipment known as ‘drugyalysers’ that can be used by police on a roadside to detect drug substances in saliva – similarly to alcohol breath testing. This can provide the sufficient evidence required to prosecute an individual in court – not readily available until now. In effect this will abolish the previous unreliable Field Impairment assessment whereby motorists were to prove their co-ordination and balance capabilities. Families of victims that have suffered injuries directly because of narcotic influenced driving are backing the movement in attempt to see justice done.
The drug screening equipment is expected to be ready within 3-4 months, giving time for legislation to be passed and to decide what drugs should be included within the new law. The most common narcotic taken that results in a road accident is cannabis – this causes brain impairment and loss of brain function. Therefore cannabis is a likely candidate to be involved in the new law. It is hoped the law will be a successful deterrent to people taking cannabis and driving. In many ways this can mirror the already proven benefits that breathalysing has shown us over the last decade. Although drink driving is still common amongst motorists, the introduction of laws against drunk driving undoubtedly has reduced road accidents.
The knock on effects of new legislation could make the future brighter in reducing car insurance premiums. Deterring narcotic use whilst driving will hopefully reduce road accidents along with fewer claims made on an insurance policy. This could be the turning point in lowering insurance premiums which we so drastically need in the midst of the current financial climate. In addition to reducing accidents, drug takers will be just as concerned about the effect a conviction will have on their renewal premiums. A driving ban significantly increases this renewal cost. So much in fact that many offenders may not be able to afford to drive even once their driving ban is lifted.
A prominent message is clearly being sent across the nation – the government will not tolerate drug-driving offences. It is impossible to disagree that this new legislation is not an excellent step towards providing a safer road environment and in due course lowering insurance premiums.