Mum of girl killed by drug-fuelled driver backs new police crackdown

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THE mum of a teenager who died after being run over by a driver who had taken drugs before getting behind the wheel is backing a new police testing kit.

Rose Allsop, 38, mum of Jasmine Allsop, has welcomed Hampshire police’s move to test people for drug-driving at the roadside from today.

Rose Allsop and her daughter Jasmine

Rose Allsop and her daughter Jasmine

Those who test positive for cocaine or cannabis face a criminal record, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a fine of up to £5,000.

It comes alongside wider legislation that will see people convicted of drug-driving banned from the roads.

Ms Allsop, whose daughter died in November 2013, said: ‘It’s a brilliant move and it should have been brought in years ago.

‘There have been so many deaths and accidents from this that prevention has got to be good.

There have been so many deaths and accidents from this that prevention has got to be good

Rose Allsop

‘We’ve seen the results of testing people who get behind the wheel after having a drink, so I hope this test will deter people from doing it in the first place.

‘I still feel so angry about what happened to my daughter, but there’s nothing I can do to change that.’

Samuel Etherington, of Stoners Close, Gosport, then 20, had taken drugs and was travelling at more than twice the 30mph speed limit when his souped-up green Honda Civic hit Jasmine and her friend Olivia Lewry.

Later tests revealed he had taken horse tranquilliser ketamine and mephedrone in the 24 hours before the crash.

He had been stopped minutes before the accident by police who spotted a defective light, but was allowed to drive away. There is no evidence his drug consumption impaired his driving.

But Ms Allsop of Coulmere Road, in Gosport, hopes the £18 test will make people think twice before they get behind the wheel after taking drugs.

She added: ‘He (Etherington) will be out in two years and that’s not really a sentence. I don’t want any family to go through what we have and I think prevention is the key.

‘People need to start thinking about why they are getting behind the wheel of a car if they have taken drugs.’

Sergeant Rob Heard, who leads on road safety issues for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘All drugs have an effect on you, even legal ones.

‘Both can effect the way you drive – it can make you lose concentration, you can feel violent and your reaction times could diminish.

‘Therefore we are saying it’s just not worth the risk.

‘Please do not get behind the wheel if you have taken illegal drugs.

‘From today we will be able to do spot checks – like we do with alcohol – to see if a driver has used drugs.

‘This is something we welcome and will be doing so please think twice.’

The test has been welcomed by road safety charity Brake, which has been campaigning for the law alongside families bereaved by drug driving.

Its deputy chief executive Julie Townsend, said: ‘Drug-driving wrecks lives, and it is a crime for which there is no excuse.

‘We’re delighted that our long-running campaign for a tougher law is finally seeing success.

‘We believe the government is doing the right thing by taking a zero-tolerance approach.

‘We hope this will make it clear that driving on any amount of drugs won’t be tolerated.

‘Anyone tempted to drive on drugs should be in absolutely no doubt of the penalties they face for endangering people’s lives and that it simply isn’t worth the risk.’

She added: ‘We will continue to campaign for further action to stamp out risky, illegal driving that ends and ruins lives daily.

‘The crucial next step to back up this and other vital life-saving traffic laws is for government to give greater priority to traffic policing, to ensure the recent trend of falling traffic police numbers is reversed.’