Schedule 18 - Drugs and driving: minor and consequential amendments

Part of Crime and Courts Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 1:00 pm ar 7 Chwefror 2013.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Home Department 1:00, 7 Chwefror 2013

Clause 37 creates the new offence of driving with a specified controlled drug in the body in excess of the specified limit for that drug. Schedule 18 makes a number of related consequential and minor amendments to give full effect to that offence. Under section 3A of the Road Traffic Act 1988—I hope that this will clarify matters for my hon. Friend—when someone who has drugs in their body drives carelessly and causes a death, they can be charged with the offence of causing death while under the influence of drink or drugs only if impaired driving is established specifically in the case concerned. The section 3A offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Where impairment due to drugs cannot be established, the offence of causing death by careless driving in section 2B of the 1988 Act can still be used. The maximum penalty for the section 2B offence is five years’ imprisonment. The maximum penalty for the section 3A offence is considerably higher than for the section 2B offence, to reflect the aggravating circumstances of driving while impaired by drink or drugs. For drink-driving, the section 3A offence can be used if a driver has a concentration of alcohol in his or her body in excess of the prescribed limit. The effect of schedule 18 will be to apply the same principle to the new drug-driving offence. That is likely to involve a small number of cases, but each case is associated with a death and is therefore obviously very important.