Drug driving panel welcomed

Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership has welcomed news that the government is setting up an expert panel to offer advice on tackling drug driving.

The panel, which is being set up by the Department of Transport, will consider the possibility of introducing a new drug driving offence.

Chief Inspector Steve Wilson, Derbyshire’s head of roads policing, said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to tackling drug driving. Driving while under the influence of drugs puts lives at risk – that’s why it’s important to make sure that everything possible is being done to tackle the problem. We look forward to reading the panel’s findings.”

Under the current drug driving law, the police must prove that a driver’s judgement and reactions are impaired in order to charge them. However a new offence of driving with an illegal drug in your body could be introduced if drug drive limits - similar to the current drink drive limit - can be agreed.

The panel will consider whether it’s possible to agree a drug drive limit for a number of substances including cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and opiates. If they succeed, police will be able to charge suspected drug drivers on the strength of blood test results alone rather than having to test their coordination, reaction times and judgement.

The expert panel will comprise academic and scientific experts in the field of alcohol and drug misuse. It looks set to start work in the Spring and its remit will be to provide scientific, evidence-based technical advice.