Drug Driving, One Year On (2 Mar 2016)

DDposter1West Yorkshire Police is supporting the THINK national drug drive campaign this month, a year on from it becoming illegal to drive with set limits of both illegal and some legal drugs being consumed.

The legislation has made it easier for police forces to target drug-drivers because the law sets limits for certain drugs- meaning police can test drivers for drugs in a similar way to how they test for alcohol.

Limits are set at very low levels for eight illegal drugs including cannabis and cocaine while some legally prescribed drugs including diazepam and methadone are also included as certain strong medication can affect people's ability to drive.

Class A cocaine and class B cannabis have been deliberately chosen as they have been found to be the most prolific drugs used by those drug-driving and can have significant levels of impairment when it comes to people's ability to drive.

West Yorkshire Police have also been continuing to use a specialist testing kit, which means officers can quickly and accurately test for the presence of cannabis and cocaine at the roadside. The kit means anyone suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs can be quickly tested with a saliva swab and then arrested if the test proves positive. Previously, the offence of driving whilst unfit through drugs would be used to prosecute drivers, but the new laws are in addition to this existing offence.

Inspector Joanne Field, who leads West Yorkshire Police's Roads Policing Unit said: ''The law has set limits for both illegal and some powerful legal drugs, makes the process of tackling those who put lives at risk by drug-driving simpler.

''The influence that illegal drugs, psychoactive substances and medication prescribed by a doctor, can significantly impair someone's ability to drive and put your life as well as those of other road users in significant danger- just like drink-driving.

DDposter2''The law also identifies limits for types of legal drugs; It's vital that anyone taking prescribed medication reads the instructions carefully and sticks to the prescribed dosage. If you have any concerns regarding the impact any medication may have on your ability to drive, please speak to your doctor before you get behind the wheel.

''A drug-driving conviction will result in a criminal record, a minimum 12 month driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and up to 6 months in prison or both. It's not worth the risk.''

Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: "Driving after taking illegal drugs and some medications can have devastating consequences and can easily result in loss of life.

"All too often the police and other emergency services attend road traffic incidents which have life changing impacts on families.

"Please keep yourself, your family and others safe on the roads.

"As long as drivers stay within the prescribed levels, most people will still be able to get behind the wheel of a car, but I would advise anyone who is unsure about the effects of their medication to seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacist."

You can view a short video demonstrating how the road-side test kit is used at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVIRSJE8AYc

For more information on the new drug-driving legislation can be found at: http://think.direct.gov.uk/drug-driving.html

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© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018