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Key pledge of Lillian's Law campaign close to reality

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A ZERO tolerance approach to drug driving – one of the key aims of our Lillian's Law campaign – has moved a step closer to reality.

In March an expert panel recommended adopting certain limits for drugs such as cannabis, heroin and cocaine, as part of a new offence inspired by the campaign.

This week the government decided those limits were too high, amid concern that drivers may not exceed the levels but still pose a significant danger.

Its consultation, announced on Monday, has set out a zero-tolerance approach to eight controlled drugs, including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and LSD.

The decision has been welcomed by the family of Lillian Groves, 14, who was killed outside her home in Headley Drive, New Addington, by a speeding driver who had smoked cannabis before getting behind the wheel.

Nearly two years ago they teamed up with the Advertiser to launch a campaign in her name which called for radical changes to the approach to drug-driving.

"When we set out at the start zero-tolerance was one of our main aims," said Michaela Groves, Lillian's auntie.

"We didn't understand how you could set an acceptable limit of an illegal drug.

"We were convinced it should happen but we also knew that we had set the bar quite high. To have it happen is fantastic.

"It might seem like common sense, but we never thought it would be addressed, particularly not this quickly.

"It's great to see how much progress has been made."

More than 20,000 people signed the petition for Lillian's Law, which also called for the introduction of roadside testing devices, due next year.

When Lillian's family and the Advertiser met the Prime Minister in November 2011, he said the campaign made a "strong argument" for zero-tolerance approach.

"We need to get away from impairment. The impairment test is all wrong. It allows you to be a drug take who is driving and that's not on," he added.

In taking a zero-tolerance approach, the government said it had set the limits at a level which will not catch someone who has consumed very small amounts inadvertently.

Drugs are a factor in hundreds of road deaths each year, but drivers often escape prosecution.

It said the new offence would reduce wasted time, expense and effort for the police and courts when prosecutions fail because of how difficult it is to prove a drug impaired the ability to drive.

The law also applies to eight controlled drugs which have "widespread medical uses", including morphine, diazepam and other anxiety or sleeping pills.

The consultation closes on September 17.

Key pledge of Lillian's Law campaign close to reality


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