DVLA figures show the number of drivers convicted for driving under the influence of drugs has increased four-fold since 2017.
Over the last 12 months, around 20,000 motorists have been convicted for driving after using substances. That’s around 60 people for every working day of the year. The figure was 17 people every working day in 2017.
The ages of those caught range from 15 to the over-60s. Forty teenagers between 15 and 16 were caught driving under the influence of drugs this year, while 200 17 year-olds and 78 over-60s were also found guilty.
What’s worth considering is that these figures are convictions. Given an increase in enforcement, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more drivers are getting caught.
“These figures are staggering,” said David Jamieson, West Midlands police and crime commissioner.
“The reality is drug driving is a hidden epidemic. A lot of people think they can get away with it because so few police are on the roads and the likelihood of being stopped is really low. What we need is tougher enforcement.”
Drivers who are on prescription drugs can also be prosecuted for drug driving. If you don’t inform the DVLA of a medical condition and prescription that can affect your driving, you can be fined up to £1,000. If you’re involved in an accident on prescription drugs, you can face prosecution.
As for recreational drugs, you can be screened at the roadside for cannabis and cocaine. If you’re judged to be unfit to drive, and or under the influence of such drugs, you can be arrested and taken back for blood or urine tests.
Drug driving comes with a minimum one-year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison and a criminal record. It will also be evident on your licence for 11 years.