Posted: Thu 11th May 2023

Road safety charity calls for urgent government action on UK’s drug-driving crisis

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, May 11th, 2023

The UK’s leading independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has urged the UK government to take immediate measures to combat the escalating drug-driving crisis.

The issue, which the charity states has been on the UK government’s radar since 2011, has seen a staggering increase in casualties and collisions of over 260% in the last decade, with nearly 28,000 convictions reported in 2021 alone.

The charity deems the situation “devastating, far-reaching, and only getting worse.”

IAM RoadSmart’s recent research paints a troubling picture of the crisis, with the survey revealing that 1-in-10 motorists have driven or been a passenger in a vehicle where the driver has been under the influence of illegal drugs.

A concerning 14% admitted they would not deter a family member or friend from driving while under the influence of drugs, and 6% claimed they would be comfortable driving in such a state themselves.

The charity’s research also highlights the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs like antihistamines, painkillers, and anti-depressants, which can significantly impair a driver’s judgment.

According to their findings, a third of motorists are unaware of the maximum dosages of prescription medication before it impacts their ability to drive.

A fifth rarely or never check whether prescription medication will affect their driving ability, and a quarter are likely to drive after taking OTC medications that warn against using heavy machinery.

In the face of these alarming statistics, IAM RoadSmart is reiterating its call for a meeting with government ministers to discuss effective countermeasures.

The charity is urging the government to announce the results of its consultation, “Protecting the public from repeat drug-driving offenders,” launched last summer. It also emphasises the need for separate rehabilitation schemes, recognising drug-driving as a distinct issue from drink-driving.

As part of its comprehensive strategy, IAM RoadSmart is advocating for the development of a rehabilitation option focused on illegal substances to reduce reoffences effectively.

The charity is also eager to work with government and health sector partners to raise awareness about the potential effects of prescribed medications on a driver’s ability.

With these steps, IAM RoadSmart hopes to reverse the rising trend of drug-driving incidents and ensure safer roads for Britain, emphasising that a collective effort is crucial to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

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