No drink, drugs while driving, says German commissioner

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The drug commissioner in the German Bundestag has called for drivers to completely avoid alcohol or other drugs before taking the wheel. Her remarks come as drug-related car accidents surge in Germany.

The number of traffic accidents caused by illegal drug consumption in Germany rose by nearly 42 percent between 2007 and 2017, with the drug commissioner of the Bundestag calling for drivers to abstain not only from alcohol, but also cannabis before taking the wheel.

“People driving should simply not consume alcohol and cannabis, because not only their lives are put at risk, but the life and limbs of other road users as well,” Marlene Mortler, a member of the conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union, told newspapers of the Funke media group published on Friday.

Drugs-related accidents on the rise

The newspapers cited a government response to a question by the opposition Left Party that showed alcohol-related accidents in Germany going down by around a third in the 2007-2017 period, from 19,384 to 12,655. In the same period, however, accidents occurring under the “influence of other intoxicating substances” went up from 1,336 to 1,893.

Germany currently allows non-professional drivers who are over 21 or have more than two years’ driving experience to have up to 0.05 blood alcohol content. If they cause an accident or commit a traffic offense, however, a lower limit of 0.03 percent applies.

As the use of cannabis for recreational purposes is banned in Germany, even tiny amounts of tetrahydrocannibinol (the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis) in the blood can lead to penalties, including the temporary loss of a license.

‘No business on the road’

Altogether 37 people died in accidents related to drug consumption in 2017, compared with 196 people in alcohol-related accidents.

The president of the German Road Safety Council (DVR), Walter Eichendorf, also called for strict rules on alcohol and drug consumption on the roads.

“Anyone driving doesn’t drink. Anyone drinking doesn’t drive. So what also applies is: Anyone driving doesn’t take drugs, and anyone taking drugs doesn’t drive,” he told the Funke newspapers, adding that cannabis had just as little business on the road as alcohol.

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