UK Roads Minister Stephen Hammond has published new plans that will aim to make it easier for police to prosecute people who are found to be driving under the influence of illegal drugs.
The proposal suggests taking a zero tolerance approach to illegal substances, and will also impose maximum limits on a specified list of prescription medications. The exact limits will be set in accordance with the recommendations of the Expert Panel, which is made up of medical and scientific experts.
It is hoped that this new legislation will provide greater clarity to people who are taking legitimate doses of medication, whilst also making it possible to prosecute the misuse of these drugs for recreational purposes.
When the human body is under the influence of drugs it can undergo a variety of changes including slower reaction times, erratic behaviour, lack of concentration and loss of inhibitions, all of which can severely impair your ability to drive a vehicle.
A government survey found that 3% of fatal road accidents in 2011 were attributed to drug use, which is considered to be a very conservative estimate due to a lack of adequate testing equipment. Since January 2013 police have been issued with drugs testing kits that allow them to analyse mouth swabs in order to test for cannabis, so experts predict that a new study would reveal much higher figures.
A public consultation into the approach of this policy was launched on 9th July and will remain open until 17th September 2013, at which time all responses will be reviewed and considered before a final proposal is submitted to Parliament.
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