DRUG DRIVING — the law is changing
From March 2015, it will be a criminal offence to drive with more than trace amounts of drugs in your system
Offenders will face a £5,000 fine, up to six months in prison and an automatic 12-month driving ban
Drugs and driving are a dangerous combination
February's Poster of the Month concerns changes to the law on drugs and driving. These changes will take effect from March 2015.
Taking illegal drugs increases the risk of a serious or fatal crash.
It is estimated that drug driving could be responsible for up to 200 deaths every year. The effects of illegal drugs are unpredictable as they are unregulated and affect individual people differently.
According to Brake, the risk of a serious or fatal crash increases:
- up to 4 times if the driver has taken cannabis;
- 2–10 times if the driver has taken cocaine / illegal opiates;
- 5–30 times if the driver has taken multiple drugs; and
- more than 23 times if the driver has combined illegal drugs with alcohol
All of these statistics apply when compared to a driver who is drug-free and sober.
Medical drugs can also be risky.
Medical drugs can impair driving ability by causing drowsiness or affecting the driver's vision, coordination or concentration.
Specific examples include:
- cough and cold medicines
- sleeping tablets
- epilepsy medication
- hayfever and allergy relief
Medication that affects a person's ability to drive or operate machinery is required to carry a warning. However, many drivers are unaware that such medications carry a risk. Research shows that one in six UK drivers ignores such warnings or fails to check the label at all.
Kodiak posters regularly cover drug driving — including both illegal and medical drugs.