[LINK] Proof that illegal drugs cause accidents?
kim at holburn.net
Wed Jan 18 07:59:34 EST 2012
Bt in Australia we haven't worried about anything like science in this issue. Nor whether prescription drugs are even more dangerous in some cases.
> Setting limits for drug-driving may prove tricky.
> The government has established a panel of experts to examine the technical aspects of such legislation. Its terms of reference are still under development, but it will consider how such an offence could be defined and whether it is possible to set limits for illegal drugs like those for alcohol. That would mean identifying, for an average adult, levels for the impairing effects of specific drugs, including cocaine, MDMA, cannabis and opiates, that are broadly equivalent to the current blood alcohol limit, which in the UK is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
> This work is needed because the UK has no objective test for drug-driving – unlike drink-driving – no legal definition of impairment under UK road law, and no offence of driving in breach of limits of specific drugs. Motorists can be charged with being unfit to drive through drugs, but proof of impairment is needed and is hard to obtain, so few cases go to court. Technology is catching up, though. Roadside drug-screening devices exist and are used in other countries, although none is approved for use in the UK.
> The panel will face difficult decisions in applying the scientific process to determining actual limits, though. In the most closely analogous problem – drink-driving – the evidence for setting appropriate limits initially came from a 1964 study involving more than 17,000 drivers in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this study, the blood alcohol level of drivers who had been involved in a crash reported to the police was compared with the blood alcohol level of drivers who had not. This allowed the researchers to estimate the odds of being involved in an accident at several levels of blood alcohol, and this information was used to set a legal limit.
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