UK Cracks Down on Drugged Driving

By Chrisanne Grise 07/09/13

Drivers on illegal substances or Rx drugs could soon face jail time.

"Drugalyzers" will test drivers on-the-spot.
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Brits who abuse prescription drugs and drive could soon face steep fines and even jail time. Drivers will also face a "zero tolerance limit" on illegal substances including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and ecstasy. As part of a crackdown on "drugged driving" starting next year, police will begin using new “drugalyser” devices, which can immediately measure even small traces of drugs in an individual’s system. Those driving under the influence of illegal drugs, or prescription drugs not as prescribed, will face a 12-month driving ban, six months in jail, and a fine of up to £5,000 (roughly $7,400). Anyone taking legally prescribed medications will not be penalized, unless they have taken more than the recommended dose or ignored doctors’ advice not to drive. “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,” says Road safety minister Stephen Hammond. “We know that the vast majority of people who use prescription drugs are doing so responsibly. That is why our approach does not unduly penalize drivers who have taken properly prescribed medicines.” Experts predict that cracking down on drugged drivers will save at least 200 lives a year.

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Chrisanne Grise is a multimedia journalist specializing in health/fitness, lifestyle, travel, bridal, and music. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, FitnessMagazine, Fisher Price, Bridal Guide, Scholastic's Choices,,, and more. She is the Senior Editor at The New York Times Upfront. Follow her on Linkedin and Twitter.