BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat has today released data on drug driving arrests since new drug driving laws came into effect in March 2015. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has said the wide regional variation in arrests point towards a "worrying" pattern of enforcement across England and Wales. Commenting on today's new figures, Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Driving under the influence of drugs is dangerous and totally irresponsible. The law in England and Wales, which campaigners including Brake helped bring about, has gone a long way to help tackle the problem but more needs to be done.
"The Government must make traffic policing a greater national priority, giving the police more resources to deal with drug driving throughout the year. More approved testing devices are also desperately needed; just two of the drugs listed as illegal under the law - cannabis and cocaine - can be tested for at the roadside. An approved kit to detect ecstasy/MDMA should be made a priority.
"Brake welcomes plans by the Scottish Government for new drug driving laws in 2019 and we urge Northern Ireland to follow suit as soon as possible. Those who drive in the UK under the influence of drugs have to get the message that they will be caught and face tough penalties."
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.