Individuals who flout the law and take to the roads after consuming illegal or excessive amounts of prescription drugs now face a range of new deterrents.
A series of roadside tests are now being made available to officers, allowing them to test drivers they feel may be intoxicated while in charge of a vehicle, including cannabis and cocaine.
In addition, officers will have the power to detain drivers for tests for other drugs such as ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at a police station, even if they pass roadside tests for these substances.
Motorists found guilty of driving while under the influence of drugs now face the prospect of a criminal record, as well as up to one year in prison and fines of up to £5,000.
Road safety minister Robert Goodwill commented: "The government's message is clear – if you take drugs and drive, you are endangering yourself and others and you risk losing your licence and a conviction."
The prescription drugs covered under the new ruling have a higher limit due to their medicinal use, but individuals who consume excessive amounts will still face punishment. These prescription drugs are morphine, diazepam, clonazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam and methadone.
Responding to the implementation of these new powers, chief executive officer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists Sarah Sillars stated: "The new law is a real step in the right direction for the eradication of driving under the influence of drugs."
She added many drugs will impair the senses and therefore driving while under the influence of these substances can mean road users have nowhere near the level of control needed to drive safely.
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This story was posted by MileageCount, the mileage capture and fleet management experts. Every Mile Counts.