Police in Cumbria catch more
drug drivers than ever

20.11.2019

Police in Cumbria are catching more drug drivers than ever before, motorists have been warned.

The increase in failed roadside drug tests is down to improvements in the police’s ability to catch drug drivers, as well as a large increase in the number of officers trained to carry out roadside tests.

The number of drivers found to be over the drug drive limit increased from 107 in 2016 to 339 in 2018. As of the end of September 2019, 309 drivers were found to be over the drug drive limit this year.

Many of the drivers detected were young males aged between 16 and 29.

Insp Steve Minnikin, of Cumbria Police, said: "Our message to drivers is simple - we're catching more drivers who are unfit through drugs than ever before and if you get behind the wheel whilst unfit through drugs you can expect to be caught by our trained officers.

"Anyone convicted of drug driving can expect a criminal record, a minimum of a 12-month driving ban and a potential prison sentence.

"However, the fact is that the people who are caught by our officers are the fortunate ones. There is a good chance that we will be paying a visit to the families of those we are unable to get to in time."

Drug testing is done on a targeted basis where drivers are either suspected of being under the influence of drugs or following a road traffic collision. As such, the drugs wipe tests carried out so far in 2019 have resulted in 44.4 per cent testing positive for cannabis, cocaine or both.

Insp Minnikin added: "People have been under the impression in years gone by that it was easier to get away with drug driving than drink driving. That is absolutely not the case in 2019.

"Our officers are equipped with roadside drug wipe kits and are also trained to carry out field impairment testing by the roadside.

"However, what we really need to see is people realising the mistake they are making in getting behind the wheel whilst unfit through drugs or drink. I would particularly urge parents and grandparents to speak to their children as those we are catching are usually young men aged between 16 and 29."

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