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Government readies for new drug driving law

Last year saw the Government announce that a new offence of driving with a specific controlled drug in the body above the specified limit for that drug is to be introduced. Following the news former Roads Minister Stephen Hammond put forward proposals on the drugs to be included in the legislation and the limits to be specified.

Now the Government has limits for eight general prescription drugs and eight recreational drugs.

The new rules will mean it will be an offence to be over the generally prescribed limits for each drug and drive vehicle, as it is with drink driving.

The Government said that the limits to be included in the new regulations are not set at 0 as drugs taken for medical conditions can be absorbed in the body to produce trace effects.

The illicit drugs include cocaine, ketamine and LSD whilst general prescription drugs include temazepam, diazepam, morphine and methadone.

The Government added that it has consulted on a limit for amphetamine but decided that the proposed limits need to be reconsidered so that patients who take medicine for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are not affected. The Government will therefore look to re-consult on the new threshold later this year, with an agreed limit added in to the legislation at a later date.

Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘The result of the consultation is sending the strongest possible message that you cannot take illegal drugs and drive. This new offence will make our roads safer for everyone by making it easier for the police to tackle those who drive after taking illegal drugs. It will also clarify the limits for those who take medication.’

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) greeted the news. Director of policy and research Neil Greig said: ‘The IAM is pleased that the Government is moving significantly closer to finalising the process of setting limits for drugs and driving. Now that the consultation process is almost over and the correct limits have been agreed for each drug the police can finally get on with actually catching those who risk their own and others lives by driving under the influence of chemical substances.’

To read Fleet World managing editor Ross Durkin’s response, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.