Drug-driving charges come into force

New regulations have come into force in England and Wales to stop people driving under the influence of drugs.

Police officers will now able to test drivers using DrugWipe kits to detect the drugs cocaine and cannabis. They will also be able to test for other drugs including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at a police station, even if a driver passes roadside checks. The abuse of legal drugs including diazepam, methadone and morphine can also be tested for.

These new rules run alongside the existing law under which it is an offence to drive while impaired by any drug. Drivers can face a fine up to £5,000, up to six months in prison and a minimum driving ban of one year.

“David Taylor, professor of psychopharmacology at Kings College, London and a member of the department of Transport’s advisory panel on drug driving, said the rules would work as a much stronger deterrent and make prosecution much easier.” (BBC News)

For those who use prescription drugs the situation has not changed, however it is their responsibility to ensure their driving ability is not impaired. Drivers who take prescription drugs are advised to carry proof so it can be shown if required.