The BBC have reported that there were nearly 8,000 arrests for drug driving in England and Wales last year.
The latest figures from 35 of the 43 polices forces in England and Wales have shown that some 7,796 people had been arrested for drug driving between March 2015 and April 2016.
Before March 2015 the police had to show that a person’s driving had been impaired because of the use of drugs.
New laws that came in from March 2015 created a specific offence of driving after taking specified drugs over their prescribed limit.
Very much in line with drink driving laws, anyone convicted of drug driving faced a minimum 12 month ban and a possible prison sentence.
It is of interest to note that the Metropolitan Police made the most arrests with some 1,636 motorists, followed by Greater Manchester Police and Cheshire Police.
One diver, who had been using cocaine and other drugs for over 10 years stated: “I drove a car for many years and took cocaine… I didn’t have a car for a long period of time, I ran out of money, and then I used to steal my sister’s car, or parents’ car, often to go in search of more drugs,” he said.
“I’m incredibly lucky to have never been involved in an accident.
“Quite often if I had mixed drugs… I would sort of temporarily black out, lose consciousness and come to and I’d be on the motorway and suddenly wake up and realise where I was.
“That’s happened on a few occasions. Obviously I couldn’t drive at all. I mean it was very dangerous, very selfish, very reckless. It’s one thing I’m eternally ashamed about.”
The change in the law from March 2015 covered 8 illegal drugs and 9 prescription drugs.
A study conducted by BBC Radio 5 Live showed that around 25% of young drivers knew someone who drive after smoking cannabis. A further 11% of young drivers know someone who had driven after taking class A drugs.
At the time when the new drug driving laws were introduced, forces in England and Wales were issued with a roadside drug testing kit. The testing kit involved a mouth swab to check if a motorist had been using cannabis or cocaine. If the test was positive, it would show a blue line on the swab within around 8 minutes.
About Freeman & Co.
Freeman & Co. are a specialist firm of road traffic and criminal defence solicitors based in Manchester but with nationwide coverage.
Freeman & Co. specialise in a wide variety of road traffic cases, ranging from drink driving, speeding and mobile phone offences, to name but a few.
The firm was created by Nick Freeman, who has been dubbed “Mr Loophole” by the press for his technical legal ability and robustly challenging the prosecution.
Nick is well regarded as an expert road traffic lawyer and has successfully represented many high profile clients for a variety of motoring offences as well as criminal offences.
The firm of Freeman & Co. embodies the way Nick works, with minute attention to detail and challenging the prosecution at every turn.
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Freeman & Co Solicitors
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Tel. 0161 236 7007