New laws helping to catch drug drivers

Six times as many people were caught drug-driving in the 12 months since new zero tolerance laws were introduced.

Monday, 7th March 2016, 8:14 am
Updated Monday, 7th March 2016, 8:16 am

New figures by the Department for Transport show that there has been a huge rise in convictions and arrests for motorists driving with drugs in their system.

It comes one year after new drug-drive laws came into force on March 2 2015, which made it easier for police to catch criminal drivers.

However, a survey by road safety charity Brake shows some drivers still admit to driving after taking drugs, and some passengers say they would travel with a drug driver.

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Alice Bailey, campaigns advisor for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “The hundreds of extra convictions over the last 12 months prove just how overdue this law change was.

“Different drugs have different effects, some slowing reaction times, others making drivers over confident and more likely to take risks, but they all have the potential to make drivers a danger to themselves and all other road users.

“The government must make sure the police have the necessary resources to carry out these tests and keep catching dangerous drug drivers who risk killing themselves or someone else.”

The survey, by Brake and Direct Line, found that one in 14 drivers admit to driving at least once a month after having taken drugs. It also revealed that one in 12 of those surveyed thought they had been a passenger with a drug-driver in the last year.

And a worrying 16 per cent said they would get in to a car with a driver who had taken drugs.

It became an offence in England and Wales to drive with even a small amount of any of 17 legal and illegal drugs in your system including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.

The law removed the need by police to prove the driver was “impaired”, and effectively brought in a zero tolerance approach to drug-driving.