Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (DPFCC), Mike Johnson, joined Police Officers on patrol in the Eden area to hear about how the Police are tackling drug driving, as driving whilst under the influence of drugs overtakes the number of drink driving arrests in the county.
During 2022-2023, 1,424 arrests were made for drink and drug driving offences, 58% of which were related to drug driving. In the last 12 months (August 2022 – July 2023) in Cumbria, 32% of people drug swiped have resulted in 313 arrests (991 drugs swipes taken, of which 313 tested positive). The highest number of positive drug swipe tests occurred in the 20–36-year-old age range.
If you are convicted of drug driving, you may get:
- a minimum 1 year driving ban
- an unlimited fine
- up to 51 weeks in prison
- a criminal record
Your driving license will also show that you have been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years and have a significant impact on the cost of car insurance. The maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving under the influence of drugs is life imprisonment.
DPFCC Mike Johnson comments: “Road safety is a shared responsibility. Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is and will always be, totally unacceptable.
“Incidents involving drug driving in Cumbria, has overtaken the more known and socially unacceptable offense of drink driving.
“Being intoxicated through either alcohol or drugs is one of the “fatal five” factors in why people are killed or seriously injured on our roads. The other factors are driving at excess speed, not wearing a seatbelt, being distracted such as by using a mobile phone, and careless or inconsiderate driving.
“Every time someone makes the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, they take their own life into their hands and risk the lives of many others.
“All too often, we see the devastation experienced by individuals, families and communities forced to deal with the awful consequences of those driving whilst under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
“It’s vital that we spread the message – do not drink or take drugs and drive. Especially to younger drivers, who may be tempted to think that they remain able to stay in control. Evidence shows they are more likely to take unnecessary risks.
“If you know anyone who is driving or intends to drive under the influence of drink or drugs, we urge you to report them, either to the police or to Crimestoppers if you’d prefer to remain anonymous. It’s about personal responsibility and everyone is accountable.”
Inspector Pete Godden said: “We are now better able than ever before to detect drug driving offences and get drivers who are unfit to be behind the wheel due to drug misuse off the road before they harm themselves or others.
“Like drink-driving, getting behind the wheel whilst under the influence of drugs can have catastrophic and life-changing, or even life-ending, consequences.
“Testing for drug driving is now used commonly alongside drink-drive roadside tests and the penalties are substantial – a 12-month driving ban, a criminal record, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison. Our officers will continue to target anyone who putting the lives of other road users at risk, as we work with our partners towards our Vision Zero goal of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads to nil.”
To report a crime or incident call 101 or visit: cumbria.police.uk
In an emergency, call 999.
Local support services in Cumbria:
The Well Communities
Call 01229 829832 Barrow-in-Furness
Recovery Steps Cumbria
Helpline 10900 512300 Carlisle, Barrow, Kendal 9-5pm
CADAS – Cumbria Addictions Advise and Solutions
Helpline 0800 254 5658 weekdays 11-5pm