Police will be clamping down on people who drive after taking drugs such as cannabis with a limit of 2 micrograms per litre (mcg/l), cocaine (10mcg/l) and ecstasy (10mcg/l) – while people who take prescription drugs like morphine (80mcg/l) and diazepam (550mcg/l) will also have to be careful not to break the limit.
Road safety minister Robert Goodwill:
“The results 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.”
If Parliament approves the suggested limits, it could mean drug-drivers will be subjected to roadside tests and penalties similar to those in place for drink-drivers.
The government decided that the proposed limit of 600mg for amphetamine needs to be reconsidered so that patients who take medicine for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are not affected.
Although a ‘zero tolerance’ approach is being taken, the limits are not set at zero as drugs taken for medical conditions can be absorbed in the body to produce trace effects.
Director of policy and research for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Neil Greig:
“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.”