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Home Office targets drug drivers with tougher penalties

Drug drivers will have their licences seized as part of tougher proposed penalties.

The Home Office has pledged to create tougher penalties to help tackle “the scourge of substance abuse in society”.

A White Paper entitled ‘Swift, Certain, Tough. New Consequences for Drug Possession’, wants to escalate sentencing options for drugs offences including drug awareness courses, exclusion orders and passport removal.

The policy is branded as a focusing on ‘middle class’ drug users.

Another option includes drug tags to monitor usage and driving licences being confiscated.

The last proposal is aimed at tackling the huge increase in people driving while under the influence of drugs.

The proposals will now be subject to a 12 week public consultation.  

Official statistics show a 110% increase over three years in reports of drug driving from 5,028 in 2019 to 10,580 in 2021.

One in twenty fatalities on our roads nationally is caused by drug drivers.

The extent of offending was revealed by traffic teams across the UK over the last week – with arrests also linked to other offences including expired driving licences and drivimng without insurance.

Hampshire Roads Policing Unit has sought bans for three dangerous drivers last week.

Officers from Wiltshire’s roads poluce unit arrested a motorist for drug driving and seized a car for no insurance after the offender drove past a marked patrol vehicle whilst smoking cannabis.

The proposed offences include:

The measures follow the publication of the 10-year drugs strategy in December and come after statistics which show over three million people in England and Wales in 2019/20 reported using drugs in the last year.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Drug misuse puts lives at risk, fuels criminality and serious and violent crime and also results in the grotesque exploitation of young, vulnerable people.

“In line with our strategy to tackle the harmful consequences of drugs, we aim to reverse the rising trend of substance use in society, to protect the public from the harm and violence of drug misuse.”

Road safety charity Brake warned of the dangers of drug driving.

It said: “Driving under the influence of drugs is an increasing danger on the roads. Driving requires full concentration and anything that impairs the ability to focus makes a crash more likely.”

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