The number of motorists found guilty of drug-driving increased by a fifth year-on-year in 2019, new official figures reveal.
Despite stiff penalties, 11,614 motorists were found guilty of drug-driving offences in 2019. Under current legislation, those convicted could face a minimum 1 year driving ban, unlimited fines, up to 6 months in prison, a criminal record and a note on their driving licence which lasts for 11 years. Compared with 9,687 prosecutions in 2018, 2019’s rise of 19.89 per cent is an alarming increase.
Edmund King, president of the AA, commented: “We should all be concerned that the number of guilty drug driving convictions has increased.” He urged that we need to get to the root cause of the problem and stop this before it becomes endemic: “While more than a third of people admit they take recreational drugs like cannabis on a regular basis, they could be unaware of the consequences drug driving can have. More action is needed to improve driver education and to stop the supply of illegal drugs.”
In 2015, amphetamine plus 8 prescription drugs and 8 illicit drugs were added into new regulations that came into force in England and Wales. Those taking prescription medicines are advised to consult with their doctor or healthcare professional regarding impairment on ability to drive.
Drink Driving Increase
Data released by the Ministry of Justice also revealed a 3.21 per cent increase in the number of people found guilty of drink-driving, rising from 33,634 in 2018 to 34,713 in 2019.
Dangerous and Careless Driving Convictions
Dangerous driving offences were up by 4.27 per cent - from 3,634 to 3,789 - while the number of drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving rose 10.83 per cent from 157 to 174.
Incidents of careless driving increased by just half a per cent in 2019, while the number of people found guilty of using a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel fell by 21.09 per cent year-on-year, from 11,901 to 9,391.