Drug driving figures revealed

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Figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 live have revealed there were nearly 8,000 arrests for drug driving in England and Wales last year, BBC News reports.

In March last year, new legislation covering legal driving limits for 17 illegal and prescription drugs was introduced.

In order to prosecute under the old laws, police had to show driving was impaired by drugs. However, driving after having certain drugs over a prescribed level became a specific offence as a result of the new drug driving laws in England and Wales.

Since the introduction of the legislation, 35 out of the 43 forces in England and Wales have revealed they arrested 7,796 people for drug driving between March 2015 and April 2016.

Of the forces that provided figures, the Metropolitan Police was found to have made the most arrests with 1,636. Following were Greater Manchester Police and Cheshire Police, with 573 and 561, respectively.

Motorists caught drug driving face a minimum 12-month driving ban, up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a criminal record.

At the same time as the introduction of the new law, police forces in England and Wales were issued with roadside drug testing kits. These kits allow them to check for cocaine or cannabis. To test for other drugs, drivers have to be taken for a blood test at a police station.

Separate legislation is in force in Scotland and Northern Ireland so these roadside kits are not used by police forces there.

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