Drug-driving charges have trebled in five years with a record high 77 prosecutions a day on average, new figures show
- Government stats show 43% rise in drug driving prosecutions since just last year
- Police arrest nearly twice as many drug drivers as drink drivers in some areas
- Prosecutions rise from 1,758 in 2015 – when made an offence – to 27,962 last year
- Two thirds of guilty drug drivers lost licence last year – with eight banned for life
The number of drug drivers being caught on the roads has more than trebled in the past five years – with a record 77 prosecutions a day.
There was a 43 per cent rise in drug driving prosecutions in the past year alone.
In some areas, police are now arresting almost twice as many drug drivers as drink drivers.
Ministry of Justice figures show that since drug driving became a specific offence in 2015, prosecutions have rocketed from 1,758 then to 27,962 last year. The number of drink-driving convictions was 33,742.
Last year 19,514 drug drivers – two thirds of those convicted – lost their licence. And nine of them were banned from the roads for life.
DVLA figures released under freedom of information requests show eight areas where police stop more drivers high on cannabis or cocaine than on alcohol.
In some areas, police are now arresting almost twice as many drug drivers as drink drivers
In Liverpool, 952 drug drivers were convicted, compared to 553 sentenced for drink driving.
In Cleveland, 562 drivers were convicted for failing drugs tests compared to 444 drink drivers.
In the City of London, 62 per cent of the intoxicated motorists caught in 2021 were high on drugs rather than drink.
Other areas which saw more drug drivers convicted were Chester, Llandudno, Newport, Halifax and Hereford.
In the latest campaign by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, more than half of the 4,668 motorists stopped after they were seen driving erratically or had been involved in an accident tested positive for drugs.
During the month-long operation by 43 forces, 2,572 drivers were found to be high on drugs, which is an average of 83 a day.
Motorists convicted of drug driving face the same penalties as drink drivers – a minimum of a year’s ban, an unlimited fine and up to six months in prison.
Cannabis coward killed two
Jordan White, 20, was jailed for six years after he killed two young people while drug driving
Jordan White, 20, had been smoking cannabis all day when he lost control of a Vauxhall Corsa, killing two people.
He then fled the scene and when he was found cowering in a shed he tried to blame his brother, who had died in the smash.
The car, which had false number plates, had spun out of control and hit a tree in Bedfordshire in January.
Ellie Ogden-Cooper, 19, was thrown from the car and died instantly. Reece White, 23, was found dead on the back seat.
Two other passengers, aged 16 and 21, were seriously injured.
At St Albans Crown Court last month the prosecutor Stefan Weidmann said: ‘It was an appalling piece of driving.
He was unlicensed and over the drug-drive limit. Warnings about his driving had been disregarded. He was uninsured and had no MOT.
He was jailed for six years.
Yesterday a National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said: ‘Innocent people die on our roads every year due to the selfish actions of those who drive while intoxicated through either drink or drugs.
‘The families and loved ones of those killed have no choice but to deal with the devastating consequences of such tragic and avoidable death.’
The RAC’s head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: ‘These figures suggest a need for a renewed focus on tackling the scourge of drug drivers. We hope the Government’s current consultation on improving rehabilitation for offenders results in fewer convictions and, crucially, fewer casualties in the future.’
Analysis from Direct Line Motor Insurance shows that there were 21 per cent more serious accidents involving drug drivers in 2020 than in 2018.
Official records show that there were 1,546 drug related accidents in 2020, and in 84 of them someone died.