A reduction in personal injury claims could be seen following the introduction of new laws and procedures surrounding drivers found to be under the influence of drugs. The law changes will see a drug-driving offence created for the first time. Following the adjustments in law, police will not have to prove an impairment in the ability to drive by a drug in the instance of pulling over a driver. Instead the only thing that will need proving is that a certain quantity of any given substance is present in the bloodstream. In order to assist with this process, police will be issued with a piece of kit which which acts as a mobile breathalyser capable of detecting the different illegal drugs. The reality of police being issued with this equipment however, is currently subject to approval by the Home Office. It estimated that up to half of personal injury claims are as a result of road traffic accidents.
Ellen Booth, who is a senior campaign officer at Road safety charity called Brake, said that “This is an incredibly important step forwards in tackling drug-driving which Brake welcomes wholeheartedly.” She went on to say that “Creating a new offence as well as approving roadside drug screening devices by the end of 2012, will make an enormous difference in preventing drug driving crashes, and also ensuring justice for families whose lives are turned upside down by selfish drug drivers.”
Meanwhile a study which was carried out by the Institute of Advanced Motorists found that around 10 per cent of young male drivers have in fact driven under the influence of cannabis. The study went on to state that 750,000 people have driven whilst under the influence of cannabis, with a total of 370,000 people having driven under the influence of class a drugs.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists went on to say in the report that it would be a mistake to entirely dismiss the usefulness of measuring impairment of ability to drive and instead focusing purely on the quantity of any given substance in the bloodstream. Simon Best, Chief Executive of AIM, stated that “The introduction of a drugalyser type test, needs to be backed up by some measure of impairment,”
Best continued to state that the tests have the potential to catch people who have used drugs at some point in the recent past, but are not necessarily impaired by them at the time of being pulled over. He finally stated that “Impairment as the key factor is also essential in tackling drivers who may have used over the counter or prescription drugs, which while legal, can have an equal impact on driving ability as illegal ones”