Northern Ireland

Almost 600 people were charged with drug driving in the last year

A police cordon on Belfast's Malone Road, close to where Enda Dolan was stuck and killed by a driver under the influence of drink and drugs
Image caption A police cordon on Belfast's Malone Road, close to where student Enda Dolan was stuck and killed by a driver under the influence of drink and drugs

Almost 600 motorists were charged with driving under the influence of drugs in the past year, new figures from the PSNI have revealed.

There were 3,259 arrests on suspicion of drink or drug driving in Northern Ireland from March 2015 to April 2016.

These resulted in 588 drug driving charges and 1,413 for drink driving.

Manchester had a total of 3,284 arrests, comparable to here, although Northern Ireland's population is smaller.

But Manchester had just 315 drug driving charges along with 1,842 drink driving charges.

Inspector Rosie Leach from the PSNI's Road Policing Unit said: "It is difficult to pinpoint what trends are going on because people use drugs and alcohol in combination.

"They sometimes use alcohol to mask the fact they have been taking drugs, so I don't know if we can say with absolute certainty that we are on a rise in terms of drug driving."

"It is mainly younger people but we also have older people who are maybe taking a combination of drugs, and unwittingly it is affecting their driving.

"If you get behind the wheel of a car, and you have been taking drugs, if you take them in combination with alcohol, then you are really in a very, very dangerous position," she added.

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