New drug driving legislation comes into force

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Police are making drivers aware of the new drug driving legislation that comes into force from today, Monday, March 2.

As well as making it easier to catch and convict drug drivers of illegal drugs, the new, less complex, legislation provides prescribed limits for legal substances.

Low levels have been set for eight well known illegal drugs, including cannabis and cocaine, and much higher levels issued for eight prescribed drugs including pain killers and sleeping or anxiety pills, such as morphine and diazepam.

Police are urging drivers that are taking prescribed medication to make sure they are taking medicines as directed so that their driving is not impaired and they are not breaking the law. Drivers should consult their doctor or pharmacy for more information.

Chief Inspector Richard Hann, Head of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire road policing unit, said: “We welcome the new legislation. Like alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs can impair the judgement of drivers and slow down their reaction times behind the wheel.

“Driving under the influence of drugs is unacceptable and it puts themselves and others at risk. The introduction of this more simple legislation means it is easier for us to tackle drug drivers of both legal and illegal substances.

“From today ( Monday, March 2) road policing units in the county will be able to conduct roadside screening tests for cannabis and cocaine. We are urging drivers to think before getting behind the wheel and work with us to make our roads safer.”