We all know about drink driving and how dangerous it can be and not many of us would ever consider doing it. However something that might not come to mind so rapidly is the danger posed by people driving after having taken drugs.
Like it or not, what’s often referred to as recreational drug taking is common place and although its illegal to consume a controlled drug, its something the policing authorities are finding hard to prevent.
A consequence of the high volume of use, is that people are going on to drive after having taken drugs, or even worse, after mixing drink and drugs and gambling with their own lives, but more importantly, gambling with my life and your life and it’s a situation that just cant be allowed to continue.
It’s easy to spot a drunk as they stagger around and slur, but with drugs, it’s different and in many cases, there is just no indication that they’ve consumed something so potentially dangerous.
The results of survey by Road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Car Insurance reveal that one in nine young drivers and that’s 11% has driven after taking illegal drugs in the past year. Shockingly, the survey revealed that 3% of drivers aged between 17 – 24 years old say they get behind the wheel after taking drugs at least once a month or more.
So now, Brake and Direct Line, are calling upon the government to push through tough proposals to tackle drug driving urgently with the introduction of a new law making it an offence to drive whilst on illegal drugs, which surprisingly does not presently exist at the moment as the only offence now is ‘driving while impaired by drugs’ and this means that police must be able to prove it before they can prosecute.
They are also calling for the approval and use of roadside drug screening devices so that police can test drivers at the roadside, just like they would for alcohol and of course, after crashes.
I guess the problem here is that for most of us, we can’t understand the effect that taking drugs would have on us, so it’s difficult to judge just what risk these drivers are taking with our lives. I guess it also crosses borders as well, because unlike someone that’s taken a drink, alcohol isn’t illegal, but the user of the drugs has already broken the law by taking the things in the first place and from there on, why stop at one law, lets go for a drive as well.
A Brake senior campaigns officer said “we need all drivers to pledge to never mix drugs and driving” but we think that’s a bit like wanting it to be Xmas every day, it simply isn’t going to happen, so its got to be down to the government to put the legislation in place and the police to have the facilities such as roadside ‘drugalysers’ to check drivers for drugs and prosecute in every case and then we might just start to control the situation?
Frankly, the genie is out of the bottle as the present drink drive laws were introduced in January 1966 and that’s 46 years ago and its been drummed into us year after year that we shouldn’t do it, but as far as I can see the police don’t yet seem to have run out of drink drivers to prosecute, so I don’t envisage its going to stop a driver smoking a joint then driving and after all, if using these drugs do have such a detrimental effect on you, we are asking the drug taker to make a lucid, logical, sensible decision after having taken the drugs!