Cannabis and Driving Doubles Collision Rate
After January’s news stories from across the country detailed police forces’ disappointment at the number of people still drinking and driving, the knotty issue of drug driving continues to trouble everyone involved in enforcement.
Last week the British Medical Journal published a paper claiming that drivers that consume cannabis within three hours of getting behind the wheel are almost twice as likely to cause a collision.
This study is significant because it is the first time anyone has been able to separate the effects of alcohol and other substances from the use of cannabis.
And yet there still exists no law against driving with illegal drugs in your body.
With the added problem of there still being no drugalyser kits widely available either police are continuing to resort to the usual impairment tests, which remain as scientific as celery.
Transport Minister Mike Penning recently announced he was putting together a panel of experts to advise on the technicalities of introducing a new drug-driving offence, which will look at whether limits should be set similar to the drink drive limit.
In response, road safety charity Brake says a tough, zero tolerance stance needs to be taken, making it illegal to drive on any amount of illegal drugs.
This sounds straightforward, until you read the AA’s head of road safety, Andrew Howard, quoted in the Guardian:
“The big question is – how can you talk about an acceptable level of something that’s illegal to possess? If it’s zero, then you have a law that’s about the use of a substance and not driving.”
This is followed by further concerns apparently raised by Steve Rolles at the drug policy foundation Transform: “Blood alcohol is a good test, but cannabis testing doesn’t do that. You can have a positive test a month later in the bloodstream but you’re only impaired for a day. So there’s a danger you are going to criminalise drug use by default.”
All of a sudden the problem of drug driving starts to get even knottier…
For further information contact Anton Balkitis or Lucy Wood on 0800 046 3066 or visit the website if you are looking for drink driving solicitors.