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Drug-driving puts pressure on A&E departments, says IAM Roadsmart

23 March 2023
Department for Transport statistics show that there were almost 2,500 casualties in relation to drug-driving during 2021


Drug-driving could be adding further pressure to A&E departments across the country, warms IAM RoadSmart. The road safety charity has analyse Department for Transport (DfT) statistics to discover that there were almost 2,500 casualties in relation to drug-driving in 2021, representing an increase of over 260% since 2012.

IAM Roadsmart said the problem has also been felt in the courts, as Criminal Justice System Statistics (CJSS) reveal that the number of drug-driving convictions has increased year on year, reaching 12,500 in 2019. Nearly half (44%) of these crimes are perpetrated by repeat offenders, with many of these cases occurring within one year.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Such troubling trends come amid worrying reports that, due to inefficient testing protocols, which requires blood samples to be taken by a healthcare practitioner, some police officers are resorting to bringing drug-driving suspects to hard-pressed A&E departments to take a sample. This comes at a time when hospitals are facing record waiting times, placing extra pressure on NHS nurses and doctors.”

IAM RoadSmart’s most recent annual Safety Culture Report showed that motorists consider drink and drug-drivers as one of the biggest risks to their personal safety – more than other issues such as speeding on residential streets, people driving aggressively or not wearing a seat belt.

The survey of 2,028 motorists suggest that the problem of drug-driving is set to deepen, with 1-in-10 respondents stating that they have driven, or been a passenger in a vehicle where the driver has been under the influence of illegal drugs.

The survey discovered that 6% of people would be comfortable driving while under the influence of illegal drugs, and 14% of those surveyed stated that they would not stop a family member or friend who was planning to drive while under the influence of drugs.

Neil Greig commented: “With cases surging and attitudes as they are, Britain’s drug-drive picture is a bleak one. IAM RoadSmart has already proposed a smart package of solutions to help address this issue, including: developing a dedicated drug-drive course, prescription reform and for the government to finally release the outcome of its own drug-driving consultation. If these are actioned, we might finally see progress made on this critical road safety issue before more lives are tragically lost.”

IAM RoadSmart recently called on the government to reform the approach to drug-driving.

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