Drug-driving is becoming a growing and dangerous problem in England and Wales, according to new figures.
Nearly 8,000 people were arrested for drug-driving in England and Wales in the last year, according to figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests by BBC Radio 5 Live. Data was supplied by 35 out of 43 police forces.
Last year, regulations were introduced to crack down on motorists who drive under the influence of drugs. Limits were set for eight illegal drugs and eight prescription drugs.
For illegal drugs, the levels are such that it virtually means there is zero tolerance for drivers caught with these substances in their system.
The Metropolitan Police made the most arrests at 1,636, followed by Greater Manchester Police with 573, and Cheshire Police with 546.
Road side tests
Officers use “drugalysers” to screen for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and can also test for these and other drugs like ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at a police station, even if a driver passes the roadside check.
The introduction of the test and the legislation has had a huge impact on the number of arrests. In South Yorkshire, drug driving-related arrests went from 13 in the year the test was introduced to 456 the following year.
Gloucestershire chief constable Suzette Davenport, the roads policing lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, told the BBC that the testing kit and the legislation are “immensely helpful” and have provided the tools necessary to help catch those who take the risk of drug-driving.
Date Published: June 19, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown