The shocking scale of drug driving revealed

Police say 70 per cent of drivers tested for drugs at the roadside are giving positive results.

Saturday, 3rd December 2016, 10:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:28 pm
Sgt Adam Dawson, PC Martin Saunders and Sgt Andy Hill from the Road Policing Unit as they launch their Drink/Drug Campaign

The shocking revelation comes as officers begin their annual crackdown on drink and drug driving.

Police are concerned the deadly consequences of drug driving are being ignored on a daily basis.

And they say that since roadside drug testing came into force the true picture has become clear.

Sergeant Adam Dawson of the Lancashire Police road policing unit said: “Last year it became about drink and drug driving and we were issued with roadside testing kits.

“Since we started using the wipes from the evaluation kits we’ve 
seen something like a 70 per cent strike rate.

“That’s 70 per cent of the kits we are using are showing positive for one drug or another.

“Those figures are just for Western division - Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre plus Lancaster and Morecambe

“It’s a shock that percentage is so high.”

Sgt Dawson is concerned young people seem to be more willing to take a risk with drug driving.

And while the effects of alcohol can be predicted, the same cannot be said for those taking illegal substances.

Sgt Dawson said: “It depends on what a person has taken but just like alcohol drugs impair your abilities and decision making

“Cannabis is a relaxant, it slows you down, those effects are very clear.

“Cocaine on the other hand is a stimulant, it’s going to do the opposite.

“What we’re finding in the majority of cases people are taking a cocktail of different drugs.

“They are not just using one.”

As part of this year’s festive drink drive campaign police on the Fylde coast will be stepping up the number of patrols and will be carrying out roadside tests and special checkpoints.

And, with support of local authorities, drug driving will be a major focus.

Sgt Dawson said: “Blackpool Council have providing funding to provide more testing kits for us.

“We’ll be carrying out enforcement.

“There will be check sites and we’ll be getting the message out.

“It isn’t worth taking the risk, we don’t want people on the road with drink or drugs in their system, they are a danger.”

Part of the focus of this year’s festive campaign is on the ‘morning after’.

And while many motorists now realise they may have alcohol in their system well after they have finished drinking, Sgt Dawson made clear the same goes for drugs.

He said: “You might have gone out on a Saturday, taken something then.

“It could still be in your system when you drive to work on a Monday.

“When we stop people and test them and they are told they are horrified.

“Things stay in your system for far longer than you might imagine.

“Just don’t take a risk.

“If you are in any doubt, take a taxi.

“Young drivers are a particular group we are keen to get that message across to because they are more likely to ignore the warnings.”

Police carried out an operation in Fylde on Thursday but will be carrying out checks across the Fylde coast in the run up to Christmas and the New Year.