Suspended prison sentence for drug driver caught after crash in South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police have tested 118 drivers under new drug driving laws since they were introduced in March. Pictured is the drug testing machine in action with Paula Townsend.
South Yorkshire Police have tested 118 drivers under new drug driving laws since they were introduced in March. Pictured is the drug testing machine in action with Paula Townsend.

The first motorist caught under new drug driving laws in South Yorkshire has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Robert Maslanka, aged 31, was caught following a collision on the A1 in Doncaster on Monday, March 2 - just hours after new laws were introduced making drug driving carry the same punishments as drink driving.

The motorist, from The Waggonway, Lothian and Borders, in Scotland, denied the offence but was found guilty by magistrates and sentenced to a 20-week prison sentence suspended for two years.

He was also banned from driving for 15 months, ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and left with a £300 bill for costs.

Officers suspected Maslanka was under the influence of an illegal substance and tested him at the roadside following a smash.

The roadside testing kit returned a positive result for cannabis and he was arrested on suspicion of drug driving and taken to Doncaster police station, where a blood test was carried out.

The results of the test indicated that Maslanka was one and a half times over the limit for cannabis, which is currently set at two micrograms per litre of blood.

South Yorkshire Police and the county’s Safer Roads Partnership have funded an advert to be aired on Sky TV over a four-week period to highlight the potential consequences of drug driving.

It is aimed at male drivers between 17 and 31 years old, who predominantly return the highest number of positive drug tests at the roadside.

Roads Policing Chief Inspector, Glen Suttenwood, said: “We want drivers to understand the implications of driving under the influence of drugs and that under the new law the offence now carries exactly the same penalties of drink driving - a minimum 12-month ban, a criminal record, a fine and potentially up to six months in prison.

“We want to ensure people abide by the law to make the roads in South Yorkshire safer for everyone, and hopefully this latest result in court and with the launch of the advert, it will have an impact and make people think, and hopefully start driving the message home.”