Blind Spots in Young Driver 'Drug Law' Knowledge


You may think the learning curve is pretty much over once you've passed your test, but there are still some things you need to be aware of when you finally get on the road. A survey by the car insurance company Carrot, showed just how much young drivers still have to learn.

Young Drivers and New Drug Laws

Change to Drug Driving Laws

The Government changed the law in March regarding drug driving, but many young drivers are completely unaware, potentially putting the brakes on their driving future. Approximately 25% of the young drivers asked revealed that they know someone who had driven a car under the influence of drugs. This is shocking, especially in comparison to those who were unaware of the serious consequences.

The survey found that 1 in 8 were totally unaware of the new drug driving laws that have been introduced. So, if a young driver was to be stopped, they would not be aware that a police officer can now test them for cocaine and cannabis at the roadside. The Department of Transport's 2012 self-reported drink and drug results showed that in that year, drivers in their 20s had the highest rates of both drink and drug driving incidents, with 1% admitting to drug driving.

Other samples can be requested at a police station but many are unaware of that fact as well.

What If My Drink Was Spiked?

Prescription drugs were another blind spot identified by Carrot in the knowledge of young drivers. One in 5 were unaware that some prescription drugs were also subject to the new rules. A further 38% failed to identify controlled substances from an official list and only 2.4% identified the 'date-rape' drug Rohypnol as a now banned substance.

If your drink is spiked with a drug and you're consequently stopped by the police and identified as a drug driver, you may have a defence. To establish your case, we would advise you to contact us as soon as possible. These claims can be time consuming and require a fair amount of evidence to be successful.

With the introduction of the new drug driving laws, also comes new penalties. Almost 20% of young drivers didn't know that the penalty for drug driving can be up to 6 months in prison and a minimum 1 year driving ban. Convictions such as this can have a dramatic effect on a young drivers licence and of course, their insurance.

Julie Robertson, Head of our Motoring Offences team, believes more should be done to educate young drivers who, like the rest of the public, may be unaware of the changes in driving laws that may affect them. For those that have already fallen foul of the new drug driving laws, contacting an experienced solicitor, capable of dealing with young driver cases is essential to mitigate the serious consequences of the offence.

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