Drug Driving: The law, consequences and effects

Catching and convicting drivers who are under the influence of drugs will now be easier thanks to the legislation passed on 2nd of March, 2015. Thanks to this legislation, there will be an effective way of delivering consequences to people who are driving under the influence of either legal or illegal drugs. Going forward, it will be illegal to drive if you’ve been rendered unfit to do so after taking a legal or illegal drug.

Additionally, if certain levels of illegal drugs are detected in your blood, you will be charged regardless of whether or not your driving ability has been impaired.

Anyone who is taking prescription drugs or OTC drugs should talk to a pharmacist, a doctor or some other professional in healthcare if they are not sure whether or not they should drive after taking the drug.

The police will now have the authority to compel drivers to take a ‘field impaired assessment’ if they suspect that the driver is driving while under the influence of drugs. This will include a number tests such as asking the driver to stand on one leg or walk in a straight line.

Cannabis and cocaine will also be tested for using a roadside drug kit. Any driver who is believed to be unfit to drive due to the use of drugs will be arrested and will have to take a urine or blood test. This will be done either at a hospital or a police station.

The Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Anyone convicted of driving while under the influence will be facing:
·        A driving ban of not less than one year
·        A fine (unlimited)
·        A criminal record
·        A maximum of 6 months behind bars

Additionally, the person’s driver’s license will show, for the next 11 years, that the person had been convicted for driving while under the influence of drugs. The penalty will however be much harsher on a driver who causes a death while driving dangerously when under drug influence. The driver will be facing a maximum of 14 years behind bars.

Apart from the legal consequences of such a conviction, there are other consequences that such a driver might face including:

·        Higher insurance premiums on their car insurance
·        Employers will be able to see about your conviction on your license
·        Loss of job
·        You may not be able to travel to countries such as the United States

Effect of Drugs on Driving Ability

Driving affects the user in a number of ways that could compromise the user’s ability to drive. Some of the effects include:

·        Blurry vision
·        Poor concentration
·        Highly risky behaviour due to overconfidence
·        Inability to properly judge speeds and distances
·        Poor reaction time
·        Poor coordination etc.

People who’ve used marijuana tend to drive slower than normal. They assume that this is safer. However, the cannabis can still increase the time it takes them to make decisions and slow their reaction. Cocaine users, on the other hand, will likely be overconfident and take more risks.

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