Forthcoming legislation on drug driving
New legislation on drug driving will come into force in England and Wales on 2 March 2015, making it illegal to drive with a specific controlled drug in the body above the accepted limit for that drug.
These new rules will mean it will be an offence to be over the specified limits for each drug while driving, as it is with drink driving.
The new offence will work alongside the existing offence of driving while impaired through drink or drugs.
Drugs to be covered by the new rules include cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.
In a statement, the Department for Transport has warned that the limits for illegal drugs will be extremely low and one smoke of cannabis will put drivers over the limit.
The penalties for drug driving will be the same as for drink driving. Drivers who are convicted will receive:
- a minimum 12-month driving ban
- a criminal record
- a fine of up to £5000 or up to 6 months in prison or both.
In the context of drugs and health and safety in the workplace, the HSE recommends that employers should adopt a substance misuse policy, in consultation with their staff. Some employers have decided to adopt drug screening as part of their drug policy. However, the HSE suggests that employers who decide to adopt drug screening “think very carefully” about what they want screening to do, and what they will do with the information it generates. The safety watchdog warns that drug screening by itself will never be the complete answer to problems caused by drug misuse.