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Motoring law expert warns drug drivers to think again

In addition to unveiling that 3% of motorists have driven on drugs in the past year, the survey by Brake and Direct Line found that just over one in ten (11%) drivers think they may have been a passenger with a driver on drugs.

Young people and men are also most likely to have possibly or definitely been a passenger with a driver on drugs. 18% of young drivers and 15% of male drivers say they have been in this situation in the past year.

The findings come shortly before a new law, coming into force on 2 March 2015, will make it an offence to drive with drugs in your body across Britain, aiming to make it much easier to prosecute drivers on drugs.

In response, Lucy Whitaker, a leading motoring law expert from law firm Rothera Sharp, said: ‘Unfortunately taking certain drugs such as cannabis seems to be just a way of life for some people. That being said, drug-drive cases are relatively few and far between, so we need to be thinking about the number of people that are putting lives at risk and getting away with it.

‘Part of the problem is the fact that, at the moment, police can only take action against drivers if they’re found to be “unfit” to drive through drugs. However, the situation will change dramatically from 2 March 2015 when a new law comes into place that will mean it will be an offence to be over the specified limits for each drug whilst driving, as it is with drink driving.

‘The new offence will work alongside the existing offence of driving whilst unfit through drugs. Substances covered by the new rules include cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.

‘The interesting thing is that the limits for illegal drugs will be extremely low – according to the Think government website one smoke of cannabis could put you over the limit, so all of those people who admitted to drug-driving in the survey, need to think very carefully about their actions.’

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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.