On the 9th May, her Majesty the Queen delivered a speech to the UK parliament outlining the government’s plans for the coming year. At the end of my last blog, I said a new law for drug driving could be included in the Queen’s speech and a few weeks ago, the Queen and the coalition government delivered what Lillian Groves’ family have been campaigning so hard for.
Under the proposals, included in the Crime, Communications and Courts Bill, it will automatically be an offence to drive if you have certain controlled drugs in your body in excess of specified limits. Offenders face a fine of up to £5,000, a driving ban of at least 12 months as well as up to six months in prison. Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said this will make it much easier for police to tackle drug driving.
Although a significant step forward, Concateno has recommended that the UK Government could follow the model practices of other countries and take a zero tolerance approach to drug driving. Combined with an awareness and education programme about the dangers of drug driving, we believe this is the most effective course of action, rather than, as the Government intends, waiting for the Drug Driving Expert Panel established this year to decide on which illegal drugs to include and whether or not to test for minimum impairment levels.
The proposal stated in the Queens Speech should make the Groves family and Gareth Davies of the Croydon Advertiser proud of their accomplishment. The next step is to keep pressure on the MP’s to follow through on this and hopefully within a year, the UK will start seeing a change in culture towards drug driving. Recent statistics show that 10% of 17-24 year olds drove a car or were in a car being driven by someone under the influence of drugs (Bowater, 2012). That needs to change. On May 9th the UK took a good first step.