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Road safety experts eye drug-drive crackdown

By Peter Woodman

The Government is setting up an expert panel to consider the technical aspects of introducing a new offence of driving with an illegal drug in your body.

The panel will look at how such an offence could be defined as well as considering whether it is possible to set levels for the impairing effects of specific drugs.

It is likely that the panel will consider whether it is possible to identify, for average members of the adult population, the levels of drugs that have an impairing effect broadly equivalent to the current blood-alcohol level.

Panel members will consider this effect for a number of drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis, and opiates.

In cases where such levels can be identified the panel may then look at how these would vary across the population, including for habitual drug users.

The panel will examine whether impairment levels could be exceeded through prescribed or otherwise legally obtained drugs.

The Department for Transport, which is establishing the panel, is working with the Home Office and Department of Health.

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