Those who drive while under the influence of drugs are at higher risk of being caught thanks to a new test being backed by Herts Police.
The first arrest using the newly-introduced roadside drug test has already taken place in the county, just days after the legislation came into effect on Monday of this week.
Officers are making drivers in Herts aware of the new rules which make it it easier to catch and convict drug drivers of illegal drugs as well as providing prescribed limits for legal substances.
Low limits have been set for eight well known illegal drugs, including cannabis and cocaine, meaning that drivers and motorcyclists using even small amounts of these drugs will be prosecuted.
Levels have also been set for eight prescribed drugs, including pain killers and sleeping or anxiety pills such as morphine or diazepam, which can also affect motorists’ driving ability.
Chief Insp Richard Hann, who heads up the tri-force road policing unit comprising Herts, Beds and Cambs, said: “We welcome the new legislation. Like alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs can impair the judgement of drivers and slow down their reaction times behind the wheel.
“Driving under the influence of drugs is unacceptable and it puts themselves and others at risk. The introduction of this more simple legislation means it is easier for us to tackle drug drivers of both legal and illegal substances.
“Road policing units in the county will be able to conduct roadside screening tests for cannabis and cocaine. We are urging drivers to think before getting behind the wheel and work with us to make our roads safer.” A 23-year-old man from Welwyn Garden City was the first person arrested in Herts on suspicion of being over the specified limit of illegal drugs. He has been bailed to a later date pending further investigation.
A small quantity of suspected cannabis was also seized by the officers. Two men also from Welwyn Garden City, aged 20 and 23, were given formal warnings for possession of a controlled drug.
Insp Phil Bloor said: “My officers have not wasted anytime in putting the new the roadside drug tests to good use and tackling those who are suspected of drug driving.
“Any motorist who is tempted to take drugs before getting behind the wheel should be aware that my officers are on the lookout for you.
“If they catch you, you could be facing a minimum 12 month driving ban and a fine of up to £5,000. Furthermore if you cause a fatal collision after having taken drugs, the offence of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment and a disqualification of at least two years.”
Any motorist who is tempted to take drugs before getting behind the wheel should be aware that my officers are on the lookout for you.Inspector Phil Bloor from the tri-force road policing unit