by Claire Quinlan
The latest figures from the Department for Transport suggest that drug driving offenders are just as likely to be convicted as drink driving offenders, thanks to drug driving laws that were introduced back in 2015.
Conviction rates for drug driving offences are now at 98%, with stats revealing that nearly 1500 drivers -or about four a day- were convicted of drug driving offences in 2015, including being in charge of or attempting to drive a vehicle, or causing death after exceeding the legal drug limit.
The drug driving laws introduced in 2015 make it illegal to drive with certain drugs in your system when they are above a specified limit. The law includes eight illegal drugs such as cocaine, cannabis and ketamine and nine prescription drugs including diazepam, methadone and morphine.
Through these laws the police can use drugalysers to test for recreational drugs at the roadside, or use blood tests at police stations to test for illegal substances such as LSD and heroin, without the need to gather evidence proving that the driver was impaired, which was previously the case.
Even if a driver passes a roadside check, the police can still request a test be taken at the station. In the future the plan is to develop devices that can test for an even greater number of drugs on the roadside, as well as including amphetamine within the offence, which is currently subject to approval by Parliament.
The consequences of being caught driving with these drugs in your system include a driving ban and a criminal conviction, as well as losing your licence for at least a year. You can also face a fine of up to £5000 or potentially end up in prison.
Further figures in the DfT’s report show that 94% of the drivers who underwent a preliminary drug screening were male and 64% were aged between 16 and 29. The same researched also revealed that two thirds of the people caught for drug driving offences had previously committed other offences.
If you have been committed of a drug driving offence contact our expert motoring team for advice on 0800 046 3066