Transport Secretary cracks down on drug driving

Grant Shapps cracks down on drug driving

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said, "Drink driving is now rightly seen as a social taboo by most of us in this country and we have worked hard to drive down drink-drive-related deaths. However, if we are to make our roads safer still, there is no room to be lax on drug driving, which is why I have launched this call for evidence. It is only right that drug drivers must undergo rehabilitation before getting back behind the wheel, helping protect the public from this hidden problem and stamping out drug driving for good"

Transport & Fleet Managers Warning

All transport and fleet managers need to be aware, of the updates to the Statutory Document 1Good repute & Fitness which was updated on 11th April 2022. It states there is a requirement for the employer or the Transport Manager (TM) to notify the Traffic Commissionaire's (TC) office if any driver has been formally charged for driving under the influence of Drink or Drugs, the timescale to complete this a maximum of 28 days.

Drug driving on the increase

Drug driving is abhorrent and, unfortunately, it is evident that this is on the rise, even among professional drivers. A recent discussion with a consultant who undertakes Drink and Drug testing of drivers of PCVs and HGVs as well as transport operations staff and shop floor staff (warehousing and production), confirms this as his annual figures indicate that 9% of all those tested, test positive for drugs, usually cannabis or cocaine.

It is illegal to drive if either:

  • You’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs
  • You have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they have not affected your driving)

Legal drugs are prescription or over-the-counter medicines. If you are taking them and not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps has recently issued a call for evidence to determine whether convicted drug drivers should have to complete a rehabilitation course before resuming driving.

  • Proposals require drug drivers to undertake rehabilitation courses before being allowed back behind the wheel
  • Reform would bring penalties for drug driving in line with drink-driving
  • Call for evidence helps keep high-risk offenders off our roads and looks at how medical cannabis impacts road safety

Drug drivers could be required to undertake rehabilitation courses before being allowed back behind the wheel, under new plans to address this underestimated social problem. The increase in drug-related driving offenses, with over 12,000 drivers convicted in 2019 and a 44% rate of re-offenders, so clearly something is not working.

In 2020, 713 people were seriously injured in drug-driving collisions, up from 499 in 2016, and some police forces are arresting more drug drivers than drinking drivers, so a shift to drugs needs education and awareness. This is why the government is taking action to protect the public and make drug driving as much of a social taboo as drunk driving.

Currently, those convicted of drug driving are handed a driving ban, prison sentence, or fined by the courts, but are not required to complete rehabilitation courses before resuming driving – unlike drunk drivers. In a call for evidence, the government is asking whether drug-drivers should likewise have to undergo rehabilitation, helping better protect the public.

Statistics show that non-attendees to drink-driving rehabilitation courses are over twice as likely to commit a new drink-driving offence within 3 years, so by offering high-risk drug-driving offenders the same support, the government hopes to bring down the number of repeat offenders.

Source: Dept for Transport