The Government has launched a drug-driving campaign targeting young men, the group most likely to drive while under the influence of illegal drugs.
Watch the Think! ad
A new advert will be shown on ITV tonight, warning drivers that police can spot involuntary signs of drug use such as severely dilated or constricted pupils.
Research by the Department for Transport’s Think! campaign has found that those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs most often are men aged between 25 and 35.
It also reveals that one in ten young male drivers admits to driving after taking illegal drugs and that one in five drivers killed in road accidents may have an impairing drug in their system.
Cannabis slows reactions, causes sleepiness and can distort perceptions and lessen concentration. Cocaine causes increased risk-taking because it makes the user feel alert. Ecstasy distorts perception and also increases risk-taking.
The TV advert points out that drug-driving penalties are the same as those for drink-driving: a minimum one year driving ban, a fine of up to £5000 and up to six months in prison.
Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, said: “Some drivers who would never get behind the wheel after drinking still believe they can drive after taking drugs.
“We are determined to get the message through to this reckless minority that their behaviour is putting lives in danger.”
Cathy Keeler, Deputy Chief Executive of the road safety charity Brake, said drug-driving was “potentially a huge problem on our roads”.
She welcomed the campaign, but said “what we really need is the enforcement to back it up”.
“The Government has been dragging its heels on approving a roadside testing device even though police in countries like Germany are already using saliva wipes to catch lots of drug drivers.
“There are already some devices out there that can identify some of the most common drugs people take and there’s really no reason for the Government to wait for some perfect device to detect all of them.”