A new offence of drug driving will become law by 2014, making convictions easier when drug-driving is suspected.
Currently, police have to prove that a motorist is “unfit” to drive using a number of subjective tests before a conviction of driving whilst unfit through drugs can be secured.
The new offence will streamline with legislation to make it easier to secure convictions.
Stephen Hammond, transport manager, recommends thresholds at a level above when driving is considered dangerous and a dual-limit when drugs are found in combination with alcohol. Experts propose limits significantly above the concentration that, for example, cancer patients may be prescribed long-term.
Furthermore, Hammond’s 200 page report recommends adopting a system whereby blood samples are routinely collected at all road traffic accidents and tested for many drug substances. This model is currently used in Norway.
Figures estimate that there are around 200 drug-driving deaths each year but it is suggested that the actual number may be much higher.