The Government has announced that its ambition to create a new drug drive limit has moved a step closer following the results of two public consultations.
The recommended limits for 16 different drugs – eight prescription and eight illicit drugs – have now been approved and will be added into new regulations that will come in to force in autumn 2014.
The new rules will mean it will be an offence to be over the generally prescribed limits for each drug while driving, as it is with drink driving.
Robert Goodwill, road safety minister, said: “The result 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.
“The next step is to take these limits to Parliament to see the offence come into force later this year.”
In March 2013, the DfT took expert advice from a medical panel on the potential drug limits that the Government should consult on. The DfT accepted most of the recommendations made by the panel and has consulted on limits that represent a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to deter people from taking drugs and driving.
The limits to be included in the new regulations are not set at zero, as drugs taken for medical conditions can be absorbed in the body to produce trace effects. In addition, different drugs are broken down at different speeds and that is reflected in the disparities between the limits.
The Government is now working closely with the medical profession to ensure healthcare professionals and patients are informed about the new drug driving offence. Later in the year there will also be a communications campaign to make drivers aware of the changes to the law.
Click here to read the full DfT news release.