Plans for tougher sentences for drug-driving offences are set to be announced as part of the forthcoming Queens speech.
At present those driving under the influence of substances can only be prosecuted if the police can prove that their driving has been affected. Under the new legislation police will be issued with hand-held “drugyalysers”, similar to breathalysers. This will allow them to take an instant saliva sample to confirm the presence of an illegal substance. If this the case then the driver will be taken to a police station to take part in a second confirmation test. The Home Office is expected to approve the device for use by the end of this year. The legislation will also outlaw abuse of prescription medication and will make it an offence to have levels of certain drugs within the bloodstream.
The new law will carry a penalty similar to drink-driving. A maximum of six months jail, £5000 fine, and an automatic driving ban of a year will apply to offenders.