New drug driving legislation will come into effect in the UK from March 2015 in a move aimed at cutting down on the number of drivers that are at the wheel of a vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs of abuse. For the first time, police will be empowered to use saliva drug testing kits to screen drivers who they suspect of being under the influence of illegal substance or similar drugs of abuse.
Driving a vehicle whilst under being impaired by drugs has always been an offence in the UK. Now, this new legislation identifies 16 drugs that cannot be taken by drivers over a specified limit. The law will act in a similar way to existing drink drive legislation.
Police will no longer need to prove impairment for this new offence. Previously when police stopped a driver, a field impairment test (which is actually series of driver capability exercises) was carried out to judge a drivers capability to drive. Any driver that failed this test was then taken back to the police station in order to carry out a blood drugs test.
The new law comes into effect on March 2, 2015. As well as illicit drugs, some prescription drugs are also included on the list of controlled substances. The drug driving limits will be very low, effectively amounting to a zero-tolerance policy for drugs of abuse.
The limits to be included in the new regulations are:
Benzoylecgonine, 50 µg/L Cocaine, 10 µg/L Delta–9–Tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis and Cannabinol), 2 µg/L Ketamine, 20 µg/L Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), 1 µg/L Methylamphetamine – 10 µg/L Methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA – Ecstasy), 10 µg/L 6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM – Heroin and Morphine), 5 µg/L
Generally prescription drugs
Clonazepam, 50 µg/L Diazepam, 550 µg/L Flunitrazepam, 300 µg/L Lorazepam, 100 µg/L Methadone, 500 µg/L Morphine, 80 µg/L Oxazepam, 300 µg/L Temazepam, 1000 µg/L
Photo Credit: West Midlands Police on Flickr