Brake welcomes the announcement of a new law on drug driving, removing the need for police to prove impairment. The law is to be included in the Crime, Communications and Court Bill.
Roadside drugs screening devices are expected to receive Home Office approval for use by the police by the end of the year, alongside evidential testing devices for use in police stations. A review panel is also looking at what drugs the devices would test for and at what limits.
Offenders could face a fine of up to £5,000, a driving ban of at least 12 months as well as up to six months in prison.
Ellen Booth, Brake senior campaigns officer, said: “This is an incredibly important step forwards in tacking drug driving which Brake welcomes wholeheartedly. Creating a new offence as well as approving roadside drug screening devices by the end of 2012, will make an enormous difference in preventing drug driving crashes, and also ensuring justice for families whose lives are turned upside down by selfish drug drivers.”
“The expert panel now has the important task of fleshing out the legal and technical specifics of the new law. It is vital that they get it right, but also vital that they work quickly because the UK has suffered continued devastation on roads from drug drivers for too long without government action.”
“Given international evidence, Brake recommends a zero-tolerance law that makes it an offence to drive on any amount of illegal drugs. It should be a simple message, that if you take illegal drugs you cannot drive legally.”
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 65 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (19-25 November 2012), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake’s support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.
Road crashes are not accidents: they are man-made, preventable, violent events that devastate lives. Brake does not use the term accidents because it undermines work to tackle needless casualties and causes insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by road death or injury.