Young drivers unaware of drug drive law change

One-in-eight young drivers are unaware of the change in drug driving laws that came in last month.

According to research from telematics-based insurer Carrot Car Insurance, many young drivers were unaware that, under the new laws that came into force in March, police officers can test for drugs like cocaine and cannabis at the roadside with a new ‘drugalyser’, while also requesting samples for other illegal substances at a police station. Previously, officers had to arrest suspects and take them to a police station to undergo time-consuming tests, conducted under medical supervision.

In addition, just over one-in-five were unaware that it is also now illegal to drive with certain prescription drugs in the body.

Thirty-nine percent failed to identify all of the correct controlled substances from the official list of Clonazepam, Diazepam, Morphine, Lorazepam, Oxazepam, Temazepam, Methdone and Rohypnol. In fact, only 2.4% correctly identified the ‘date-rape’ drug, Rohypnol as being banned when behind the wheel.

A further 20% were also unaware that the penalty for drug driving can be up to six months in prison, and a minimum one-year driving ban.

Carrot Car Insurance product director Ed Rochfort said: “It’s clear from our research that the change in laws around drug driving have left motorists confused and vulnerable, especially when it comes to the reclassification of some prescription medicines.

“More should be done to educate drivers, beyond the initial campaign launched by Think!, to ensure motorists are better equipped to understand all points of the law so they are not at risk of breaking it.”

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