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Brake speaks out on shockingly low drug driving conviction rates

March 3, 2010

Conviction rates for drug driving are at shockingly low levels compared with conviction rates for drink driving, reveals Brake the Road Safety Charity.

Academic studies are charting a massive rise in drug driving that may be as high as drink driving now, but there were only 1,644 convictions for drug driving charges compared to 71,449 for drink driving charges in 2008 in England and Wales according to figures in a 2010 government report.

The charity is demanding urgent Government action to give the police and justice system power to tackle the scourge of drug-drivers who can so easily kill and maim.

Brake demands the Government approve drug testing kits so that the police have the power to check for drug use easily and simply at the side of the road.

The charity is also calling for a new offence of drug-driving, similar to drink-driving, where being found to have any amount of illegal drugs in your system while behind the wheel is an offence. Currently police have to prove the driver was ‘unfit to drive’ through the use of illegal drugs, which is more complicated to prove in the courts than the readings of a drugs test, which is a simple statistical fact.

The North Report on Drink and Drug Driving, an independent review by Sir Peter North, is due to be published next month. Brake chief executive Mary Williams says: “We hope that this report will recommend the substantial overhaul of drug-driving legislation and enforcement. Then it will be for the Government to act swiftly to remedy the legal loophole which allows drug-drivers to continue to put all our lives at risk without fear of justice.”

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