Research suggests almost 1m drivers have used drugs before driving

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Leading UK law firm Accident Advice Helpline comment on the research which suggests almost 1 million drivers have used drugs before driving before.

Accident Advice Helpline

Accident Advice Helpline

Road safety charity Brake and Direct Line conducted a survey of 1,000 drivers, and of those 3% admitted driving after taking illegal drugs within the past twelve months. If this is replicated amongst the UK’s 30 million motorists it's the equivalent of 900,000 drivers.

Leading UK law firm Accident Advice Helpline said “The Transport Research Laboratory found that using cannabis delayed reactions by 21% which is a huge amount, and other drugs may delay reactions by even longer. There are already so many risks on the road without people adding extra danger by driving whilst under the influence of drugs”.

The survey also revealed that one in ten people had been a passenger in the car with someone who they believed was under the influence of drugs. A massive 29% admitted that they’d hesitate to intervene if a friend of theirs intended to drive while on drugs while a startling 5% wouldn’t speak out even if their friend was clearly out of control. If you can’t be honest with your friends who can you be honest with?

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake said “Our message to everyone is never to underestimate the effects of illegal drugs on driving”. She also went on to say “If someone is on drugs, they are not fit to drive, even if they don’t seem obviously impaired. Look out for your friends, and if they think they might be driving on drugs, speak out. You will stop them putting innocent lives in danger, and you may stop them going to jail”.

The government have announced new drug drive laws to be introduced in March 2015 which will see it become a criminal offence to drive with more than trace amounts of drugs in system. You can read more about the change in the law here. Motorists who exceed the thresholds will be prosecuted for being ‘over the limit’ in the same way as drink-drivers are as officers will be able to test drivers for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, while tests for other substances can be carried out at police stations.

The penalties for drug driving will be the same as for drink driving. If you are convicted you will receive a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record and a fine of up to £5000 or up to 6 months in prison (or both!)

An Accident Advice Helpline spokesman said “Driving under the influence of illegal drugs- much like that of alcohol- comprises someone’s ability to control a vehicle, react quick enough to hazards around them and judge safe distances. We welcome the drug drive law and hope that it will deter people from driving after taking illegal drugs. If this is the case we hope to see a decrease in accidents on the roads.”

Lucy Whitaker, a leading motoring law expert from law firm Rothera Dowson is surprised that figures aren’t higher: she said “Unfortunately taking certain drugs such as cannabis seems to be just a way of life for some people. That being said, drug-drive cases are relatively few and far between, so we need to be thinking about the number of people that are putting lives at risk and getting away with it”.

Hopefully the changes will mean a reduction in the amount of road accidents but if you do happen to find yourself in an accident then make sure you pick the right solicitor. The Accident Advice Helpline have been helping people get compensation for their no-fault accidents for fourteen years. Give them a call on 0800 689 7221 to speak to an advisor about your potential claim.

This press release has been created in accordance with the official release from Brake ‘Public urged to speak out to stop the UK’s million drug drivers’ and all statistics/ figures have been acquired from the original survey data. You can view the original press release through Accident Advice Helpline.

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David Brown
since: 02/2010
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Accident Advice Helpline
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