More than 450 drug-driving arrests made in Sussex in past year

A total of 464 drug-driving arrests were made in Sussex between March 2017 and February 26 this year.

Friday, 2nd March 2018, 8:40 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 5:34 am

On March 2 2015, the Government announced it is illegal to drive while over the specified limit of 17 legal and illegal drugs.

Now, on the third anniversary of the new law, officers are warning offenders that they are now far more likely to be caught and convicted.

In the 12 months leading up to the new legislation (March 2 2014 – March 1 2015), a total of 62 drug-driving arrests were made in Sussex.

This compares to 325 the next 12 months (March 2 2015 – March 1 2016) and 558 the following year (March 2 2016 – March 1 2017).

Between March 2 2017 and February 26 2018, a total of 464 drug-driving arrests were made in the county.

Chief Inspector Warren Franklin, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Prior to the introduction of this drug-driving law, we had to rely on a roadside impairment test to prove a driver was under the influence of drugs. Now, with this new legislation and the DrugWipe kit – a tool which tests for a number of drugs at the roadside – we can prove it in a matter of minutes.

“This makes is a lot easier to catch and convict criminals, and this is reflected in the increased number of arrests made since the law was introduced.

“What hasn’t changed is our stance on roads policing – we have a zero tolerance approach to drug-driving, and anyone caught committing this offence will be dealt with robustly.”

If you are convicted of drug-driving, you could face a minimum 12-month ban, a criminal record, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, and an endorsement on your driving licence for 11 years.

Chief Insp Franklin added: “The consequences of drug-driving can be catastrophic, and it is well documented that driving under the influence of drink or drugs is one of the four most common causes of fatal and serious injury collisions in the UK.

“Drug-driving is stupid, it’s irresponsible and it’s downright dangerous. Anyone who does so risks killing themselves, their passengers or other innocent road users. They also risk losing their job and their licence, in addition to a criminal record, increased car insurance costs and trouble getting into countries including the USA.”

The new legislation introduced in 2017 makes it against the law to drive while over the specified limit of 17 legal and illegal drugs. The limit set for each drug is extremely low, and limits have been set to account for circumstances such as accidental exposure to drugs.

Surrey and Sussex Police liaise closely with Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and DriveSmart in Surrey to provide education and enforcement around drug-driving.

To find out more, visit THINK!’s drug-driving page online.

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.

If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.