UK & World News
Drug-Driving To Become Criminal Offence
Drug-driving will be become a specific offence, punishable by up to six months in prison and a £5,000 fine under tough new measures being proposed by the Government.
Motorists under the influence of drugs can only currently be prosecuted for being behind the wheel if police can prove their driving has been impaired.
Under the measures, proposed as part of a wider Crime, Communications and Court Bill in the Coalition's new legislative programme, offenders would also face an automatic driving ban of at least 12 months
Prime Minister David Cameron said it "simply can't be right" that the laws are not aleady there to punish drug drivers properly.
"We want to do for drug driving what drink-driving laws have done for driving under the influence of alcohol. That's why we're doing what we can to get drugalysers rolled out more quickly.
"And this week we'll publish a new drug-driving offence so that driving under the influence of drugs itself is a crime, just like it is for drink driving."
Police are set to be issued with handheld drug detection devices, which will take a saliva sample, as well as a breathalyser to test erratic drivers.
The machines are expected to receive approval from the Home Office by the endof the year.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the family of Lillian Groves, who have campaigned for a change to the law since the 14-year-old was killed after being knocked down by a cannabis user. He served just four months in jail.
"Lillian Groves's family should be congratulated for their brave campaign," he said.
"I hope now that something good can come out of their tragic loss."
The proposals follow an independent review of drink and drug driving laws in 2010. An expert panel will help to decide which drugs are covered by the offence.