RAC

5.2 Drugs

The younger generations' attitude to drugs also differs from that of their older counterparts.

Worryingly 12% of 17-24 year olds believed a motorist might be fit to drive after taking a class B drug such as cannabis or amphetamines against just 5% of 35-44 year olds and under 10% of all other age groups.

9% of the youngest drivers were also more likely to believe a motorist could drive after taking a class A drug such as ecstasy, cocaine or heroin, more than any other age group.

Almost two thirds of 17-24 year olds (63%) said a motorist might be fit to drive after taking a legal drug such as one on prescription or a cold remedy which did not state 'non drowsy'.

Only in the case of class C drugs, such as tranquilisers and GHB, did 17-24 year olds concur with other age groups. In the case of such drugs, 8% of both the youngest and 45-64 year olds agreed a motorist could be fit to drive after taking them.

One in four 17-24 year olds have been in a car when they believed the driver was under the influence of drugs.

But young motorists, those aged 17-24 were not the worst offenders for actually driving while under the influence of drugs. Some 9% of this age group admitted to such activity against 13% of 25-34 year olds.

Of those motorists who admitted drug-driving, almost one in ten of the 17-24 year olds and more than one in five of the 25-34 year olds had driven under the influence of a class B drug. However, of the 8% of 35-44 year olds who admitted drug-driving, a third had taken a class B drug and just under a fifth had taken a class A drug*.

The RAC Foundation commissioned research amongst social networking site Facebook users and found 48% of motorists aged 18-24 text while driving. Further research conducted= by TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) studied the level of impairment caused by texting while driving on 17-24 year olds.

The research revealed that reaction times slowed significantly while the driver was texting. Compared to normal reaction times there was a 35% slowdown when writing a text message compared to a 21% slowdown when cannabis was imbued.

* For the latest Government information on drug-driving visit www.dft.gov.uk

6.0 Motorists, safety and society

5.1 Gadgets