Mother of innocent victim welcomes drug-driving Bill
A Bill to make drug-driving a specific offence has been welcomed by bereaved Somerset mother Clare Brixey.
Taunton Deane MP and Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne has introduced the Bill in Parliament following advice from scientific experts. It is planned to come into effect in 2014.
He said: “Driving under the influence of drugs can be extremely dangerous. It is estimated that drug driving kills 200 people in Britain every year.”
Mrs Brixey’s son, Ashley, aged 20, died in 2004 when a car driven by a friend who had taken drink and drugs crashed and landed upside down in a swimming pool. Mrs Brixey hopes the new law will be a deterrent.
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“I do very much welcome this,” she said at her home near Frome, yesterday. “When my son was killed the driver of the car was more than twice the legal alcohol limit and he had drugs in his system, but the drugs element was not taken into account by the court because it could not be proved that drugs affected the driving.
“If there had been a specific offence then it would have added to the sentence.”
Ashley was a back seat passenger in the car which crashed at Limpley Stoke, near Bath. The car had been driven at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
Mrs Brixey has been a committed road safety campaigner ever since and gives talks both independently and with the Safe Drive Stay Alive campaign run by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue. She said: “I gave a talk to Young Farmers at Wincanton, and with Safe Drive Stay Alive we book a venue and get 300 to 500 Year 11 school pupils brought in by coach and give two presentations a day. It is important to catch young people before they leave school. We don’t tell them what to do but we explain what can happen.
“At that age people think they are invincible and they are protected by parents from unpleasant things, but there are things they need to know. Since we have been running Safe Drive Stay Alive around seven years, the number of deaths and serious injuries among young drivers and passengers has dropped by 50 per cent.”
Mr Browne said: “The new powers will be introduced following further advice from scientific experts on technical issues. The new law will be carefully defined to avoid catching out motorists who are taking legal prescription drugs in line with medical advice”
RAC technical director David Bizley said driving under the influence of drugs is a growing problem. He said: “According to an RAC report, 9 per cent of 17-24 year olds admit to driving under the influence of drugs, compared to 5 per cent of all motorists.”