Drug drive arrests have increased by up to 800% after the government introduced tough new laws to catch and convict offenders, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said.
Provisional figures show that police in Cheshire arrested ‘over 530’ suspected drug drivers between March 2015 and January 2016 – up from 70 in the whole of the previous year.
A new roadside swab test was introduced on 2 March last year. To mark the first anniversary, the government is launching a new ‘THINK!’ advertising campaign targeted at young men.
A new advertising campaign will target young men
The DfT says that during the Christmas 2015 drink and drug drive campaign, 1,888 drug screening tests were carried out in a month across England and Wales and that nearly 50% were positive. It says this shows how well police have been in targeting tests.
It says that under the new laws, once suspects are charged, 98% have been convicted - compared to 80% previously.
Police forces have been given an additional £1 million to train officers, purchase drug screening equipment and pay for samples to be analysed.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: ‘Thanks to our tougher law, police are catching and convicting more dangerous drivers.
‘The government will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with police as they work tirelessly to protect the public while recognising enforcement alone is not the answer. We need to educate and influence behaviour change which is why we are pushing on with our THINK! campaign, which has helped change attitudes towards drink-driving and ultimately save lives.’