Drug-drivers will be forced to undertake rehabilitation courses before getting back behind the wheel, under new proposals from the govenrment.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set out the plan due to concerns about levels of repeat offending.
Any new legislation passed in Westminster would apply to Britain’s roads, but not those in Northern Ireland.
What has the government said?
The Department for Transport (DfT) said there were more than 12,000 convictions for drug-driving in Britain in 2019, with 44% committed by repeat offenders.
Those convicted of drug-driving are handed a driving ban, prison sentence or fine by the courts. However, they are not required to complete rehabilitation courses like those offered to drink-drivers.
Mr Shapps said: “Drink-driving is now rightly seen as a social taboo by most of us in this country and we have worked hard to drive down drink-drive related deaths.
“But if we are to make our roads safer still, there is no room to be lax on drug-driving, which is why I have launched this call for evidence today.
“It’s only right that drug-drivers must undergo rehabilitation before getting back behind the wheel, helping protect the public from this hidden problem and stamping out drug-driving for good.”
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, added: “Drug-driving ruins lives and threatens the safety of all road users.
“We welcome proposals to offer drug-driving offenders rehabilitation courses, in the same way those caught drink-driving are offered them, because the evidence shows this helps to reduce reoffending and improves road safety.”
Non-attendees of drink-driving rehabilitation classes are more than twice as likely to reoffend within three years, according to the DfT.
The call for evidence will also seek views on medicinal cannabis to “ensure road safety policy keeps up to date with changing societal norms”, the department said.
It is illegal in Britain to drive with certain banned drugs, such as cocaine or cannabis, in your system. A risk-based approach is taken for specific drugs associated with medical use, meaning it can be legal to drive after taking them if they were prescribed.