Drink-drivers to be taught dangers of drug-driving

Drink-drivers to be taught dangers of drug-driving
A new scheme will teach drink-drivers about the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs.

A trial in England and Wales will add drug-driving education to the current rehabilitation courses for motorists convicted of driving while over the legal alcohol limit.

Around 1,000 offenders will take part in the combined courses, according to The Department for Transport (DfT).

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The drug-driving information was added after recent figures revealed that 1 in 5 drug-drivers had also previously been banned for drink-driving.

Furthermore, the RAC’s head of external affairs stated in the summer that conviction rates for drug driving over the last year have been understated and figures could just "represent the tip of the iceberg".

Road safety minister Andrew Jones said of the isuue: "Getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs can have catastrophic results, for drivers and passengers and can ruin families' lives.

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“Educating offenders of the dangers of drug-driving will help prevent it in the future."

New rules on drug-driving were introduced in March 2015.

Since then, around 7,000 drivers have been charged and banned. The year before the introduction just 879 people were banned, according to DfT figures.

The rehabilitation courses are aimed at educating first-time offenders about the dangers of drink-driving to themselves and other road users.

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The combined course trial scheme will run until the end of March 2017. The results will form the basis of a consultation to make these courses available for drug-drivers.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: "Historically, police have found it difficult to determine whether people are under the influence of drugs whilst driving.

“But with around one in 12 adults taking illegal drugs each year - rising to one in five for those under 25 - it is likely to be a significant factor in death and injury on the roads.

"It is also known that drink and drugs are often found together. The question is whether an educational course will be enough to alert offenders to the risks they are taking and change their behaviour."

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.