It’s been more than a year since new drug driving legislation came into force and yet it seems courts still have no guidelines for sentencing offenders.
That’s apparently the claim of a solicitor in a recent case at Worcester Magistrates, who was quoted complaining that magistrates are instead relying on drink driving guidelines instead.
It might be why sentencing currently appears to be a bit all over the place.
There has been some press recently about a couple of drug driving cases and the “sky high” readings following roadside testing.
One motorist was found to be 120 times over the limit for MDMA and 10 times over the limit for both cocaine and benzoylecgonine, a breakdown product of cocaine.
He was jailed for 18 weeks and given a five-year driving ban at Cambridge Magistrates Court.
However, another driver, who took crack cocaine and was 26 times over the limit for benzoylecgonine managed to walk free, which is probably more than she did when the police asked her to get out of the car.
Her solicitor said the problem was that in the absence of drug driving sentencing guidelines being produced for courts to use, magistrates are relying on drink driving guidelines instead.
But he made the point that someone who was 26 times over the limit for alcohol would be on the floor and probably in hospital.
He argued that arithmetical considerations need to be ignored and the level of impairment relied on for disqualifications.
Official figures show that drug impairment led to 47 road deaths and 197 serious injuries in 2014.
This was an increase from the 21 deaths and 181 serious injuries in 2013.
Alice Bailey, campaigns advisor at road safety charity Brake, says: “Different drugs have different effects, some slowing reaction times, others making drivers over confident and more likely to take risks, but they all have the potential to make drivers a danger to themselves and all other road users. The government must make sure the police have the necessary resources to carry out these tests and keep catching dangerous drug drivers who risk killing themselves or someone else.”
If you require any advice in relation to drug driving please call our specialist motoring solicitors for advice on 0800 046 3066