17 Oct 2011
Everyone knows the dangers of drink driving. However, drug driving is something that people may not give much consideration to despite the penalties being potentially more severe than that of drink driving.
Drug driving falls under the same law as drink driving, however, unlike drink driving there is no limit. If a driver is found with any drugs in their system they can be found guilty of drug driving. A common misconception is that the police do not have ways of detecting drug driving as there are no roadside tests for drugs such as a breathalyser. However, there are a number of tell tale signs that the police are trained to spot:
- To begin with, drugs often have an effect on the eyes, cannabis can make your eyes bloodshot, ecstasy and cocaine can make drivers’ pupils enlarged.
- Secondly, drugs can impair users’ coordination which is something else the police can pick up on via a series of roadside balance and coordination tasks.
- If the police suspect you of being under the influence of drugs they can take you to the police station and have you examined by a doctor who can also perform a blood test.
Drivers who are caught drug driving face severe consequences, including a minimum twelve month ban; a criminal record and a fine of up to £5000. A conviction such as this will also have an effect on your car insurance premiums if you try to obtain insurance in the future. Not only that, if a driver is found in possession of drugs they can also receive a prison sentence of up to 5 years for a class B drug such as cannabis and 7 years for a class A drug such as ecstasy.
Motorists may also not be aware that the law does not differentiate between legal and illegal drugs. Many legal drugs can have side effects that can impair a driver’s coordination such as antihistamines (often used to counter the effects of hay-fever and other allergies) and some antidepressants. If the police believe a driver is driving under the influence of legal drugs, they will apply the same rules as if they suspect you of driving under the influence of illegal drugs.
The effect on your car insurance of having a drug driving conviction can be costly. Car insurance quotes taken from Tiger.co.uk show that for a 30 year old man driving a Ford Fiesta a drug driving conviction can push up the cost of insurance by more than 200%. For a 20 year old driver in the same car, insurance premiums can go up by nearly 400%!
A spokesperson from car insurance comparison website Tiger.co.uk commented, “Being behind the wheel of a car when under the influence of drugs shows an enormous disregard for road safety. While most medications will not affect your driving ability it is always wise to check with your doctor whether or not it is safe to drive. People with convictions for drug driving will find it very difficult to find cheap car insurance and we would encourage all motorists to stay safe and legal on the roads.”