Drug driving court cases nearly doubled in 2018

Prosecutions for drug driving offences nearly doubled last year, official figures show.

A record 10,215 cases in England and Wales were sent to court in 2018 compared with 5,368 during the previous 12 months, according to data published by the Ministry of Justice.

Since new laws came into force in March 2015, there is virtually zero tolerance for drivers apprehended with illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis in their system.

AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens said: “Drug driving has all the hallmarks of a hidden epidemic. More than one in 20 adults admit to taking cannabis, of which a third say they do so on a regular basis.

“Getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs can be fatal, so we need to stamp it out.

“Drug driving cases are at an all-time high. Recreational drug use is on the increase, and while users may think they are okay to drive, their reactions and awareness can be severely impaired.

“While drink driving is seen as socially unacceptable, we need to see the same applied to drug driving.

“Targeted road safety campaigns, coupled with better education on the consequences of drug driving could make a big difference.”

Separate Department for Transport figures show 105 people were killed and a further 1,787 were injured in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2017 in which a driver or rider impaired by drugs was a contributory factor.

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