Drug Driving: 5 years since the introduction of new legislation

More people than ever before have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in North Wales, five years after a new law was introduced.

Since the introduction of the Section 5a legislation in March 2015 North Wales Police have made almost 3,000 arrests.

The legislation sets limits at very low levels for eight drugs commonly associated with illegal use, such as cannabis and cocaine. Eight prescription drugs are also included in the law, including diazepam, methadone and morphine.

Almost 500 Police Officers and Special Constables have been specially-trained to use the ‘DrugWipe’ system which allows them to determine in approximately eight minutes, if a motorist has an illegal substance in their body, by using a swab from the driver’s mouth.

Any drivers who fail the test are taken to police custody where a sample of their blood is taken. The blood is then sent away to be examined and if illegal levels of a drug are found, that motorist faces being prosecuted for drug driving.

To raise awareness about drug driving and the potential consequences, North Wales Police have launched a new poster and social media campaign.

A drug drive conviction has consequences beyond a fine or ban. You could lose your job, particularly if you drive for work as your employer will see this on your licence. You may also find it difficult to seek employment in the future. If and when you are legally allowed to drive again, it won’t be cheap. Car insurance costs increase significantly after a drug driving conviction. The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drug drive conviction could cost between £20,000 - £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job. Think about it. As with any criminal record, you may even find it hard to enter other countries such as the USA and this can affect life plans to holiday, work or study abroad.

Chief Superintendent Neill Anderson, North Wales Police said: “The legislation around drug driving has now been in place for five years and we have been very proactive in putting offenders before the court.

“Sadly drug driving is something that we come across daily on the roads of north Wales with over a 1,000 arrests last year alone.

“Officers will continue to target those who are driving whilst under the influence of drugs. We will continue to secure convictions and keep our roads safe from those who put their lives, and other innocent road users at risk.

“We will also continue to act on any intelligence or information provided to us by members of the public in relation to anyone who is believed to be driving under the influence of drugs.”

To report a motorist suspected of regularly driving under the influence, contact North Wales Police via 101 or via the website. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Have a question?
Chat online. Not for emergency use.