A recent survey of police forces in England and Wales by the Daily Mail has raised concerns over the extent of drug-driving on Britain’s roads.
The newspaper contacted 43 police forces across England and Wales. Not all responded, but an analysis of the information received revealed that between March 2015 and February 2016, 5,857 drivers were tested after being stopped for suspected drug-driving, and 3,718 of these tested positive. On average, 63% of drivers stopped tested positive. The highest percentage recorded was in Sussex, where 82% of drivers stopped on suspicion of drug-driving tested positive.
Since March last year police in England and Wales have been using road side testing kits that involve testing a driver’s saliva to detect the presence of drugs. The tests are quick acting and can apparently detect the presence of commonly used drugs such as cocaine and cannabis in around ten minutes.
Drivers found guilty of drug-driving can face a range of sanctions, including a driving ban, an unlimited fine and a prison sentence of up to six months.
Although the drug-driving figures are alarming, the Daily Mail highlights that the overall numbers are still significantly less than that the number testing positive for drink-driving. In 2013, police attempted to conduct 684,000 breathalyser tests in England and Wales, which resulted in 72,000 drivers either testing positive or refusing to be tested.
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