Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, has been named Brake’s ‘Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month’ for campaigning to make it an offence to drive while under the influence of illegal drugs and for the introduction of roadside drug screening equipment.
Following the death of their daughter in 2010, the parents of Lillian Groves set up a campaign calling for driving while under the influence of any amount of drugs to become a specific offence and for roadside drug screening equipment to be carried by the police.
After creating a petition and working with the Croydon Advertiser to rally support, in 2011 the Groves family contacted Gavin Barwell asking for his help to push for a change in Parliament.
Mr Barwell raised the issue in Prime Minister’s Questions and arranged a meeting between David Cameron and Groves family. At the meeting the prime minister said he was committed to tackling drug driving.
In January 2012 the DfT announced a new expert panel to investigate the technical aspects of a law against drug driving. Mr Barwell and the Groves also met with Mike Penning, road safety minister, to discuss the specifics of a new law.
In the Queen’s Speech last month, the Government announced a new law making it an offence to drive while under the influence of drugs. Drivers breaking the law will face up to six months in jail, a maximum fine of £5,000 and an automatic driving ban of 12 months. Police will also be equipped with handheld drug detector devices to take a saliva sample.
Gavin Barwell said: “I am delighted to receive the award from Brake, and would like to dedicate it to the Groves family, whose campaigning work has been inspirational.”
For more information contact Brake on 01484 559909.