Drugs & Driving Offences
In march 2015 new road traffic laws were introduced in the UK to control the levels of prescribed as well as illegal drugs that can be in your system while driving a vehicle.
Prior to this, with no effective means of roadside testing existed, allowing many drivers, worse the wear for a combination of god knows what to be driving around the country causing mayhem.
Problems arise however when you start to dig a little deeper into the legislation and how it is applied in court.
Most drugs work very differently to alcohol, but for the purposes of prosecution are treated in a similar fashion. This is fundamentally because no precedents exist, meaning that magistrates have little or no knowledge of the intricate details of such offences.
There have been instances where drivers have been stopped at the roadside, 10 times over the cocaine limit, despite not having had any cocaine for 24 hours.
As a consequence, in court, the driver was then treated as if he was 10 times over the drink drive limit….. which let’s face it is a bit mental, as being 10 times over the drink drive limit (if it didn’t kill you) is a totally proposition to being theoretically 10 times over the cocaine limit… in spite of the fact that you lose the benefit of the cocaine (I gest) long before the drug disappears from your bloodstream.
Courts have a huge problem because by definition, they need to be able to refer to previous rulings in order to form conclusions on current ones, but with no yardstick to draw from, they are referring to drink driving prosecutions and the two offences are not comparable.
A drink driver 10 times over the limit would reasonably expect a prison sentence….. if it was possible…… few drivers ever record higher than three or four times the limit.
Because drugs behave differently in the body and the effects and especially the long term effects are very different, you can still show a high reading even days after you last took the drugs.
Until a system of processing the difference between use and affect is established, drivers will be penalised on a Tuesday for Saturday night recreational activities that do not impede their driving at all.