Graham Evans MP has been selected to present a Private Members’ Bill to address drug driving in the UK.
Short title: Drug Driving (assessment of drug misuse)
Long title: Bill to provide for the assessment of drug dependency or propensity for drug misuse of persons who, in the course of investigations for certain driving offences, have provided blood or urine samples that reveal the presence of certain drugs; and for connected purposes.
Graham Evans has chosen to put forward a Bill designed to require people who have been arrested or charged with drug driving and are found to have class A drugs – heroin or cocaine – in their system to have drug assessments with a drugs worker.
The Bill will be presented to Parliament for the first time on 19 June and will have its Second Reading on 18 October 2013.
Graham Evans MP said: “Drug driving ruins lives and it is incredibly important that the law protects innocent people by tackling the cause of this offence – drug misuse itself.
“I welcome new changes in the law which will mean that just having specific levels of restricted substances in drivers’ systems will now be illegal, but there are gaps in the law. Someone charged with, for example, robbery where drugs are found in their system are required to have a drugs assessment to address their substance issues but if they are charged with drug driving they at not.
“If someone is driving while under the influence of heroin or cocaine we should be taking the initiative to address their drug use.
“The Department for Transport estimates that the two offences of being “unfit to drive” under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the new Clause 5A offence (which was part of the Crime and Courts Act 2013) of having a “specified controlled drug above specified limit” in an individual’s system will result in 10,826 proceedings each year. This presents us with an opportunity to intervene to tackle dangerous behaviour.
“There is a 26% reduction in offending by people who have been required to take part in drug assessments over the first 6 months. The National Treatment agency (which is now Public Health England) estimates that drug treatment and recovery systems have prevented 4.9 million crimes a year in England.
This Bill offers a chance to make our roads and streets safer and I will be working very hard both in Westminster and Weaver Vale to raise support in the hope that this common sense step will become legislation.”