One in 10 motorists think they have been a passenger in a car driven by someone on drugs and 3% say they have driven under the influence of drugs themselves, new research reveals.
The survey of 1,000 drivers, carried out by Direct Line and the Brake road safety charity, suggests 11% believe they have been in a vehicle with someone who was high and just under a quarter (29%) say they would not take action to stop a friend who had taken drugs from driving.
Young, male motorists appear to be the most likely to keep quiet even if it was clear that the person driving was clearly not in control of the vehicle after taking drugs.
Across all ages 5% of the poll participants said this, but the rates rose to 9% and 7% for youngsters and men respectively.
Drug-driving needs to end as it wrecks people’s lives and the effects of it should never be underestimated, according to Julie Townsend, the deputy chief executive of Brake.
Drug-driving legislation change
New drug-drive laws come into effect in March next year and Direct Line’s director of car insurance, Rob Miles, hopes they will be enough to deter people from risking lives by being intoxicated at the wheel.
A Department for Transport spokesperson says the Government’s approach to drug-driving will be one of zero-tolerance and the police will have more powers to punish those who do it.
The AA has been pushing for years for stricter laws on drug-driving. Its president, Edmund King, says although officially every year 200 deaths in road traffic accidents are caused by drug-related driving incidents, the truth is probably much worse as motorists are not always tested for drug use when they are involved in crashes.
He says he thinks many people who take drugs and drive drink alcohol too so police breathalyse them for suspected drink-driving and don’t think to test them for drugs.