One in five motorists 'have driven while on drugs'

Drugs and syringe The government is proposing new measures for both illegal and prescription drugs

Related Stories

Nearly one in five motorists has driven under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs, a survey suggests.

The study for comparison website Confused.com also indicated that the number of people convicted of drug-driving went down last year.

Seven per cent of the 2,000 motorists asked said they had driven under the influence of illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine or ecstasy.

Ministers are planning new laws next year to crack down on drug-drivers.

Medical advice

Twelve per cent of those surveyed said they had driven under the influence of drugs prescribed by their doctor.

These could include some painkillers or hay fever remedies that can make people drowsy.

More than half of those asked admitted that they did not always read the leaflet that comes with the medicine, which often gives advice on whether people should drive.

BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott said the survey was one of several over recent years that suggest drug-driving is a problem.

The government said it was getting tough on drug driving, promising that legislation planned for next year would save hundreds of lives and could land thousands of drivers caught under the influence of drugs with a large fine or even a prison sentence.

The plans to make it easier to prosecute people who drive under the influence of drugs in England and Wales were unveiled by the government last month.

Low limits

The proposals would introduce a new offence of driving with a drug in the body, above a certain limit.

Ministers said the legislation would remove the difficulty of proving a driver was impaired by drugs, which is the case at the moment.

The government proposes including eight illegal drugs - cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine, benzoylecgonine (primary metabolite of cocaine), methamphetamine, LSD and 6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin and diamorphine), for which allowable limits would be set very low.

And it is proposing higher limits for eight other controlled drugs that have medical uses.

These are clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, methadone, morphine, oxazepam and temazepam.

Police would be able to carry out up to three preliminary saliva tests and, if positive, require a blood sample to be taken.

The government is consulting on which drugs should be included and what the limits for each should be.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing


  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?


  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back


  • A cow wearing sunglasses overlaid with the phrase 'Can't touch this'Cow row

    Thousands rally against the ban on beef in India


Elsewhere on the BBC

Programmes

  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.