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New legislation aimed at making it easier to prosecute drug-driving offences goes into effect from March 2 (2015). A recent poll conducted by Fleet News UK suggests that this could be problematic inasmuch as plenty of drivers have no idea what is coming. The poll results show that 25% of the respondents were not aware of the new legislation, what it involves, or how it could affect them.

Under the current system, drivers suspected of drug driving are only punished by the courts if police can prove ability was impaired at the time a driver was cited. The new law makes prosecution simpler by eliminating the need to prove impairment. From March 2, police will only have to prove that the driver in question had drugs in his/her system. This can be accomplished by way of a roadside saliva test and a confirming blood test. The legislation applies to eight illicit and prescription drugs.

Drivers in Scotland and Northern Ireland need not worry about the legislation as it only applies in England and Wales. As for businesses that employ company drivers affected by the law, Brake professional engagement officer Dave Nichols told Fleet News UK that the businesses need to make themselves familiar with the law and how it could affect them. He is worried that not enough companies are aware of what is on the way.

A company driver convicted of drug driving will receive an automatic one-year driving ban. A record of that band will remain on the individual’s licence for 11 years. In addition, the court can impose jail time and fines of up to £5,000 as necessary. Companies that knowingly allow impaired drivers to operate vehicles could also be charged or deemed liable.

Business owners and fleet managers unfamiliar with the new law should take the time over the next several weeks to educate themselves. Any instance of company drivers being prosecuted for drug driving could have serious negative consequences to employers. Moreover, that’s not even counting drug-related accidents that could result in injuries and deaths.

Know the Law

At the HGV Training Centre, we are constantly reminding our students and business partners to know the law. Ignorance of the law will be no excuse if a company or one of its drivers is brought before the courts for any offence, including drug driving. Knowing and practicing the law is the best defence against prosecution.

In light of that, part of our training for company drivers includes keeping them abreast of the law, as it currently exists. We include updates in our CPC driver-training programme as well as our company training programmes offered to our fleet customers. We would be happy to customise a training programme for your company drivers based on your specific needs and the size of your fleet.

The HGV Training Centre is a leading provider of commercial driver training in the UK. We train both individuals and company drivers for all classes of vehicles.


  1. Fleet News UK – https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/2015/2/25/companies-in-the-dark-over-drug-driving-law/54947/


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