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What Can Be Done to Prevent Drug-driving?

Updated on Jun 03, 2009

I refer to the article (“Drivers on drugs pose enforcement dilemma”, May 28).

Hong Kong, like Britain and other first-world countries, legislates against driving while using a mobile phone and while under the influence of drugs but astonishingly does not legislate against smoking or holding a lit tobacco product while driving.

Smoking has the exact same stimulant effect on the dopamine pleasure receptors of the brain as heroin and crack cocaine, which are narcotics. In fact, nicotine reaches the brain in less than seven seconds after inhalation, faster than heroin or cocaine.

While it is an offence to drive under the influence of drugs here, it is not an offence to drive holding or smoking a lit cigarette, thereby driving one-handed and with impaired control, care and concentration.

Local authorities should adopt the contents of Britain’s Highway Code section 148 into the local Road Users’ Code Chapter 5. Section 148 states: “Safe driving and riding needs concentration. Avoid distractions when driving or riding such as loud music, map reading, tuning a radio, arguing with passengers or other road users, eating and drinking, smoking.”

The latest Highway Code effectively deems smoking while driving as careless driving.

James Middleton, chairman, anti-tobacco committee, Clear the Air

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