Drug-driving arrests increase by 800%

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Since the introduction of new laws in England and Wales last year, initial police force figures reveal a substantial increase in the number of drug-drive arrests.

The Government has released figures from Cheshire Police whose robust approach has resulted in an 800% increase in drug drive arrests, with more than 530 between March 2015 and January 2016, up from 70 in the previous year.

The change in the drug-drive law made it illegal to drive with 17 controlled drugs above a specified limit in the blood and it remains an offence to drive while impaired by any drug at any amount.

Motorists caught drug-driving face a criminal record, loss of their licence for at least a year and an unlimited fine.

The new legislation introduced a roadside swab test which checks for cannabis and cocaine. The law also covers additional testing at a police station.

Road safety minister Andrew Jones said: "Thanks to our tougher law, police are catching and convicting more dangerous drivers.

"The Government will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with police as they work tirelessly to protect the public while recognising enforcement alone is not the answer."

A survey of more than 26,000 motorists conducted by the AA found 88% supported the clampdown against drug-drivers.

AA president Edmund King said: "Drug-driving is often the hidden killer on UK roads. We need to make it as anti-social as drink-driving. The new law and greater enforcement will help achieve this."

Under the old offence, 80% of suspects who were charged were then convicted. In comparison, 98% have been convicted under the new law.

Do you think last year's law has made a difference to drug-driving?

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