The latest research from IAM RoadSmart, which is a road safety charity, has shown the full impact of drug driving on A&E services across the country. With the NHS already suffering from chronic underfunding and a lack of resources, new figures do little but present a sobering account of how drug-driving accidents can be a major issue.
Official statistics from the Department for Transport have shown that in 2021, there were nearly 2500 drug-driving-related casualties. This figure is a 260% increase over numbers recovered less than a decade prior in 2012.
Furthermore, the Criminal Justice System Statistics (CJSS) has also shown that the number of people convicted of drug-driving-related crimes has risen each year, and in 2019, there were 12,500 convictions. Concerningly, 44% of crimes were carried out by repeat offenders - those who had already been charged with a crime in the past.
The reports also suggested that crimes were being committed within the same year of each other. Somebody would commit a crime and then repeat the crime within a year.
Understandably, the large number of people who have been caught by the police for committing these types of crimes has led many people to ask what can be done to try and prevent further crimes from happening in the future. The current issue is the way that testing takes place - blood samples for drug use must be taken by a healthcare practitioner.
Many feel this need for trained staff is adding to the pressure faced by the NHS on a daily basis. Furthermore, hospitals all across the UK are being seen as facing massive waiting times, and this need for trained staff is not helping.
The data that was given shows that roughly one in every ten respondents has been in a vehicle where the driver was under the influence of drugs. Understandably, this is not good news and points to a growing number of people who are driving under the influence, with as many as 6% of participants admitting they would be comfortable driving under the influence of illegal drugs.
Recent research also revealed that most motorists think that drug and alcohol abuse among drivers is the biggest risk to their safety. Speaking on the situation was Neil Greig, who is the Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart. He had the following to say:
“With cases surging and attitudes as they are, Britain’s drug-drive picture is a bleak one. IAM RoadSmart has already proposed a smart package of solutions to help address this issue, including developing a dedicated drug-drive course, prescription reform and for the government to finally release the outcome of its own drug-driving consultation. If these are actioned, we might finally see progress made on this critical road safety issue before more lives are tragically lost.”
Obviously, it’s important that police continue trying to crack down on things like drug driving to try and combat the overwhelming rise in cases.