News item: Personal injury cases may drop with introduction of new drug taking law

May 23, 2012

Driving under the influence of drugs is to be targeted by the government, which has pleased many road safety groups.

Personal injury claims made as a result of road traffic accidents which involve drivers who are under the influence of drugs may soon be on the downturn as an offence of drug-driving is created for the very first time.

For the police, it will mean they will not have to find proof that poor driving ability is a result of taking a drug, but they will only have to identify that there is a certain amount of a prohibited substance in the blood stream.

Police will be provided with a mobile breathalyser kit, which is capable of highlighting different drugs.

A spokesperson for the road safety organisation “Brake” said it is an important step in attempting to tackle drug-driving.

Introducing a new offence along with roadside drug screening by the close of 2012, will help tremendously in the prevention of drug driving accidents, and also making sure families who have suffered as a result of selfish drivers will receive justice.

Recently, a study by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) highlighted the fact that 10% of young male drivers are under the influence of cannabis when they drive.

Additionally, a quarter of a million individuals have driven while affected by cannabis and over 350,000 have been under the influence of a class A drug.

There is a concern however, that driver impairment might not be completely revealed just by measuring the amount of a particular drug present in the bloodstream.

Simon Best, CEO for IAM, considers that a drugalyser test has to be backed up by a method of measuring driver impairment, as the drug test would only penalise those people who have taken drugs at some time, but are not still affected by them.

He said that driver impairment is the real factor in tackling drivers who might have swallowed prescription drugs quite legally, which can have a similar impact on the ability to drive as illegal ones.