Head of MotoPro, solicitor Jennifer Close

Member Article

Solicitors warn of new drug driving law

MOTOR offence specialists MotoPro is warning drivers of the North East who take prescription drugs to be more mindful of the risks ahead of the biggest shake-up in drug driving laws for 85 years.

The new law, to be introduced on March 2, 2015 in England and Wales, will not only target those under the influence of illegal substances but also those who are driving whilst taking prescribed anxiety or pain relief drugs which could impair their abilities on the roads.

It is estimated that as many as 200 people a year are killed by drivers impaired by drugs, yet they are 50 times less likely to be convicted than a drink driver.

Head of MotoPro at TLW Solicitors, Jennifer Close said: “With advanced testing equipment and the new legislation, things are about to change dramatically for drivers.

“As well as catching more of those driving whilst under the influence of illegal drugs, the new legislation will include some prescription medicines, many of which will not even impair your driving ability. This new legislation is designed to work alongside the current offence of driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs.

“The new drug driving law simply creates an offence to drive a motor vehicle whilst you have the drugs named in your system above the legal limit.

Although most patients should still be safe to drive, it is wise to check with your pharmacist to ensure whilst you are taking your medicines as directed it won’t put you over the legal limit to drive.“

The new clamp down on testing sets very low levels for eight well known illegal drugs including cannabis and cocaine, but also includes eight prescription drugs including Temazepam and Diazepam, often used for treating anxiety or depression.

Under the new offence, drivers can be banned from the road for 12 months, fined up to £5,000 and jailed for six months.

Jennifer continued: “Although the levels for the prescription drugs have been set a lot higher than those of illegal substances, it is worrying that there is a lack of awareness amongst the public that these prescription medicines can have a negative impact on your ability to drive safely.

“With the testing kits set to be put straight into use and police using them at the side of the road, random tests may be carried out, and drivers will not know whether they are going to be stopped and tested for alcohol, drugs, or both.

“We aim to make people aware of the new stricter reforms on this law, as being convicted of a motoring offence can have damaging consequences to a person’s life and many drivers can often face the magistrates without representation or advice on what their rights are.”

Established in 2000, TLW Solicitors provides a comprehensive range of legal services across the UK with newly launched specialist division, MotoPro already being regarded as one of the UK’s leading divisions for motoring law advice.

MotoPro was launched in December 2014 as a result of an increasing number of enquiries into motoring offence law.

For further information please call 0191 293 1500 or visit www.tlwsolicitors.co.uk

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Richard Crulley .

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