SKIPTON magistrates have dealt with their first case under new drug-driving laws introduced in March.

The new legislation makes it easier for the police to catch and convict drug-drivers.

This is a welcome move, as those who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs – or indeed drink – are putting themselves and others in danger.

Road crashes can devastate lives.

Now, for the first time, the police are able to test drivers for traces of drugs. Previously, they had to prove they were too impaired to drive.

Those found with even a small amount of an illegal drug in their blood could face a minimum 12-month driving ban and a hefty fine or up to six months' in prison, or both.

The consequences of a drug-drive conviction are far reaching.

Not only could an offender lose their job and independence, but they could also face an increase in car insurance costs and even have trouble getting in to countries like the USA.

The message is simple: drug-driving is not worth the risk.

* IN these days of high-tech communications, it is not acceptable for a village to be without phones for a more than a week.

But that is what happened in Eldroth after a car hit a telegraph pole, forcing engineers to cut the line.

About 50 properties were left without a landline, and, as residents know, mobile phone coverage in the Dales can be patchy, to say the least.

The village is home to a number of elderly and infirm people, who use their phones to keep in touch and to call for help in an emergency. They are literally lifesavers.

We agree with resident Richard Nicholas when he says the village has been treated appallingly.

The phone lines have now been restored, but let's hope lessons have been learned.