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Drug Driving: New figures show worrying spike

DRUG-DRIVING convictions have seen a 1,200 percent hike in the last five years, with motorists in the North West of England the worst offenders.

As part of our research into the UKs behaviour at the wheel, we've uncovered shocking statistics from the DVLA which show a sharp increase in British drivers being nabbed by police while under the influence of drugs.

Some 11,849 motorists were hit with penalty points on their licence for drug offences in 2018, compared to just 945 in 2014.


And those in the North West, including major cities Manchester and Liverpool, are most likely to have penalty points on their licence for drug offences.


The South East of England is second in the league table of shame, followed by Greater London, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England.

The news north of the border is far more encouraging, with Central Scotland home to the fewest convicted drug-drivers and the Scottish Highlands and Islands close behind.


Motoring expert and Select Car Leasing company director James O’Malley believes the spike is partly due to police cracking down on the problem. He said: 

“Everyone knows the dangers of being intoxicated behind the wheel, but so many drivers are still ignoring the message. The huge increase will be a result of a number of factors, including police having access to more sophisticated detection methods.
 It is no surprise that heavily populated areas such as the North West and London are leading the way. But it is still very concerning that there are still large numbers of motorists on the road putting lives at risk every day with their reckless behaviour.”


It is against the law in England, Scotland and Wales to drive with illegal or prescription drugs in your system that impair your driving skills.

Some drugs are banned completely, while motorists are allowed a certain level of prescription drugs as long as it doesn’t affect their ability to drive.

Penalties for being caught over the limit range from an unlimited fine and a one-year ban from driving, to up to six months in jail.

However, causing death by dangerous driving due to being under the influence of drugs can result in up to 14 years behind bars.

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency outline how some 10,675 motorists have had their licence endorsed with a drug-driving conviction between the 1st of January and the 19th of October 2019.

In 2014, just 945 motorists were caught offending, rising to 2,634 in 2015, 8,664 in 2016, 10,427 in 2017 and 11,849 in 2018.

The most common offence since figures began in 2008 is driving or attempting to drive with a drug level above the specified limit, which makes up 80 percent of the 47,668 convictions in that period.

Second is driving or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs, with 7,217 convictions, while 28 motorists were convicted with causing death by dangerous driving with a drug level above the legal limit.

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