A quarter of drink drivers were aged between 16 and 19 years old
Campaigners are calling for learner drivers to be better educated on the hazards of drink and drug driving. They would like to see UK driving tests adapted to include a compulsory drugs and alcohol awareness section.
At the moment, the hazards associated with alcohol and drug driving are only touched upon with a few basic questions.
Suzannah Robin an alcohol and drug safety expert at AlcoDigital, is concerned that not enough importance is being put on the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs when learning to drive.
“The issue isn’t how much alcohol you might consume, but if you have any alcohol in your system at all. Even just one drink means you are three times more likely to cause an incident.”
Founder of the award-winning drink-driving campaign, Don’t Be That Someone, Mike McAdam, believes it’s important to teach the dangers of drink and drug-driving at an early age. He said:
“Discussing the subject in more detail during driving lessons would certainly help to increase safety and discourage drivers from consuming even just one drink before they get behind the wheel.”
Drug-driving penalties are the same as drink-driving
In 2015, the law relating to driving under the influence of drugs was changed to make it easier to prosecute those exceeding set limits. The introduction of roadside test kits has helped the police to identify people driving under the influence of drugs.
Figures from 40 different police forces revealed that almost 25,000 motorists in England and Wales tested positive for drug-driving in the last three years.
The penalties for drug driving are the same as those for drink driving. If convicted, motorists could lose their licence, be fined up to £5,000 and even face a prison sentence.
As well as the obvious illegal drugs, there are many everyday drugs that also fall under this legislation. These include diazepam, lorazepam, morphine and opioid-based drugs such as temazepam, and codeine.
A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Police said:
“Those who drive under the influence of drink or drugs not only risk their own lives but also those of any passengers and other road users.
“We are asking for the public’s help in targeting motorists who drive under the influence of drink and drugs.
“People are being urged to help catch those under the influence by using the confidential reporting line – 0800 032 0845, which is available 24/7, or report online.”
For more information on drink and drug driving, visit the force’s road safety pages.