The government has issued plans to make it easier to prosecute people who drive under the influence of illegal drugs in England and Wales.
Ministers said the legislation would clarify drug limits, making it easier to prove whether a driver’s senses were impaired by drugs.
The government are currently consulting on which drugs to include and what the limits for each should be.
The new law is likely to include strict limits on the following eight drugs: Cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine, benzoylecgonine (primary metabolite of cocaine), methamphetamine, LSD and 6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin and diamorphine).
Under the new proposals, police can carry out up to three preliminary saliva tests and, if positive, require a blood sample to be taken from the driver.
Ministers said the new laws would reduce wasted time, expense and effort for the police and courts when prosecutions failed.
Roads minister Stephen Hammond said: “Drug-driving is a menace which devastates families and ruins lives. That is why we are proposing to take a zero-tolerance approach with those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs. (We will be) sending a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Mr Hammond went on to explain: “Our approach does not unduly penalise drivers who have taken properly prescribed medicines. (However) we have also put forward our proposals for dealing with drivers who use specific prescribed drugs.”
There are also proposals for stricter limits on eight drugs which have medical uses: Clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, methadone, morphine, oxazepam and temazepam.
“We know that the vast majority of people who use these drugs are doing so responsibly and safely”, explains Mr Hammond. “That is why our approach does not unduly penalise drivers who have taken properly prescribed medicines.”
Motoring organisation the RAC welcomed the government’s move “to bring increasing levels of clarity to driving on illegal drugs and prescription medication”.
Technical director David Bizley said: “Together, these proposals will make our roads safer for everyone by making it easier for the police to tackle those who drive after taking illegal drugs and clarifying the position for those who take medication. It is something that is very much needed”.