Research has recently been released showing that drug driving is fast becoming as great a problem as driving under the influence of alcohol.
It should be remembered that it is not only illegal drugs that pose a problem. Many legal drugs can severely impair reactions and so can pose as great a threat to road users as illegal drugs.
The effects of alcohol on a person's ability to drive are widely known. However there appears to be a more limited awareness of the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs. In general terms, drugs decrease alertness, impair coordination, lead to increased risk-taking, poor decision-making and reduced cognitive function.
This is still a difficult area for the police and they are somewhat hampered in their attempts to detect driving under the influence of drugs at the road side by the lack of a single device capable of testing for a range of illegal drugs. This results in the police using preliminary impairment tests to assess subjectively whether a driver is under the influence of drugs. Clearly this is far from ideal but is symptomatic of the slow development of this area of policing. It is apparent that further developments are needed, both legally and scientifically, in order to regulate this area effectively.