New drug-driving law a step forward but better education vital, says Swanswell

02 March 2015

Swanswell, a leading recovery charity, welcomes the  new drug-driving law but calls for better education to stop drink and drug-driving altogether.

As of today, anybody driving over new specified limits for 16 illicit and prescription drugs could face imprisonment, a fine or a driving ban.

Although drug-driving laws in England and Wales already exist, this new law will allow police to do roadside testing for certain drugs. This will make it easier to prove that an individual is impaired by drugs and is therefore unsafe to drive.  

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said:

‘Fewer people are drinking or taking drugs before getting behind the wheel than ever before, but this is still a big problem across the UK. This new law is most certainly a step in the right direction but more work needs to be done.

‘Statistics show us that in the last year almost 220,000 drivers in the UK have driven under the influence of drugs and this is particularly prominent in younger drivers. Although those aged 17-24 account for only 8% of the driving population, 22% of drink-drive deaths are caused by drivers in this age group.

‘Drink and drug-driving wastes hundreds of lives every year and costs the government millions of tax payer’s pounds. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

‘Hundreds of lives could be saved each year by introducing compulsory drink-drive education for learner drivers. With better and compulsory education as part of the learner process, drink and drug-driving could be eliminated within just a few generations.’

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