What does the new drug-driving ban mean for the safety of drivers?

This week new rules were enforced to crack down on drivers under the influence of drugs. For the first time, limits have been laid out for eight illegal and eight prescription drugs, with motorists to be prosecuted if they are found to have exceeded a dosage. There is now be a zero tolerance against drug driving, and it will be considered a criminal offence for those caught in the act.

But what exactly does this mean for the safety of motorists though? Firstly, drivers found guilty will be faced with a maximum six-month prison sentence, £5,000 fine and 12-month driving ban- a hefty driving penalty. The laws put in place are there to improve the level of safety on the roads and reduce the number of accidents. Police will be using special equipment to screen for cocaine and cannabis in particular, whereas other drugs may be tested for down at the police station.

Driving whilst under the influence of drugs can affect different people in diverse ways, with the effect lasting for days without that person being aware of it. Should someone take to the wheel after consuming cannabis, their reaction time will be slower, their co-ordination and concentration may be affected and it can make people feel sleepy. Heroine can also make you feel more relaxed, slowing your reaction time and impairing your co-ordination. Drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine can distort your perceptions of the road, making you over-confident, paranoid and confused.

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 Although, levels of drug driving have not been fully recorded, research suggests the size of  the problem could be similar to drink-driving. Previous studies show that drug driving  accounts for 200 deaths a year in the UK. Not to mention, that the equivalent of one million  motorists have admitted to having driven on drugs in the past year alone, whilst 1 in 9  passengers were thought to have been in the car with the driver on drugs.

 It is not just the use of illegal drugs that the police are cracking down on whilst driving, over the counter medication is said to also impair one’s vision, reaction times and co-ordination. These can include some cough medicines, sleeping pills, antibiotics and epilepsy drugs. To ensure that you are not breaking any rules, simply ask your pharmacist for advice and always check the label for warnings. Drug-driving can cause accidents!

For whatever reason, if you were unfortunate enough to have been involved in a collision, the Bodyshop, in Ilford, have a team of technicians to help take care of everything from safely taking your car of the road to putting it on your drive once again. For more information on the services we offer, contact us today on 020 8500 9228, we’re look forward to hearing from you!

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