The task of the police in proving this offence is very difficult despite recent innovations.
The Department for Transport says that one in 10 young male drivers admits drug driving and education is crucial.
Anyone caught drug-driving faces up to six months in prison and a £5,000 fine.
Young men aged between 17 and 29 are thought to be most likely to drive while on illegal drugs and Brake says they can be affected in a range of different ways:
• Cannabis – distorts a driver’s perception of time and distance so other vehicles seem closer than they really are. Users also struggle to do two things at once, like changing gear and steering
• Cocaine – causes a feeling of over-confidence, leading to aggressive, risky driving at high speeds
• Amphetamines, such as speed – impair co-ordination and make drivers less likely to react to potential hazards
• Ecstasy – causes blurred vision and poor judgment, and may also lead to extreme anxiety and paranoia
Police currently have no equivalent to an alcohol breathalyser to test for drugs and instead use a Field Impairment Test or FIT.
This can include the Romberg Test in which a driver is asked to close their eyes and estimate when 30 seconds have elapsed. Drugs impair the body’s internal clock so drug users tend to be wildly inaccurate.
Other tests include standing on one leg, touching your nose with the tip of your finger and walking heel-to-toe while counting the steps out loud.
If officers see signs of drug abuse they can take a suspect to a police station to perform a blood test to confirm it.
It is essential that if you have been stoppped by the police for this offence you contact us immediately.
We can help guide you through this new but complex law.
Don’t delay Contact us today.