Drink Drivers to be tested for drug abuse this Christmas Period

New Drug testing kits will be used when West Midlands Police pull over suspected drink drivers in a new bid to reduce the amount of drug driving related deaths.

Police Equipmenrt

After it was recently announced that the Scottish drink driving limit would be nearly halved, it is hoped that new equipment that can indicate whether cannabis has been used by drivers will reduce the amount of road deaths that are caused by drug driving.

“Drink driving is a continuing problem despite all of the successes in reducing the number of offenders over the years.” says Inspector Greg Jennings, who has taken the reigns of the anti-drink-drive festive campaign this year.

“We continue to target drunk drivers who put themselves and others at risk when they get behind the wheel.

“However, it’s not just drink driving that kills and injures – we see too many people who seem to think it is acceptable to drive when they are using, or have recently used, cannabis and other illegal drugs.

“Drugs impair reaction times just as much as drinking and so we will be out to catch those who illegally possess, use and drive with illegal drugs in their system.”

Naming Drink and Drug Drivers

West Midlands Police will also make a point of naming every drink or drug driver charged with an offence during the Christmas period. Last year, in 2013, 205 drivers charged with drink or drug driving were named on the West Midlands Police website.

290 people were killed in 2012 due to drink drive accidents, a rise of 25% on the 2011 figures, in which 230 people died. 

In comparison the figures are greatly reduced, in the 70s and 80s they had years where more than 1,400 deaths were recorded every year, but drink drive related deaths are preventable and if people stopped getting behind the wheel drunk more lives could be saved.

A survey taken by confused.com found that 19% of the 2,000 asked had driven under the influence of stimulants.  More than a third of the people who admitted to using stimulants said they had taken cannabis, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy or amphetamines. The other two thirds had taken prescribed medicines such as anti-histamines, anti-depressants and morphine.

The festive season is a time where many parties are had and perhaps a little more alcohol is consumed, it is a smart initiative by the West Midlands Police. Inspector Jennings added: “Christmas is always a peak period for us, with so many people out celebrating and perhaps behaving differently to normal.”

As always, our advice to you is to not drink an alcoholic beverage if you will be driving at night.

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