Drug driving is now a bigger problem in some areas than drunk people at the wheel, shock new figures show
- Cases of those driving high have risen from 12,163 in 2019 to 13,732 last year
- Drink driving cases have plummeted from 52,029 in 2010 to 28,483 last year
- Liverpool was recorded as city with most drug drivers, according to the figures
The number of drug drivers on the roads has overtaken drink driving in some areas as prosecutions hit a record high, shocking figures show.
Cases of those getting behind the wheel high have risen from 12,163 in 2019 to 13,732 last year, with 97 per cent of those charged convicted.
At the same time drink driving court cases have plummeted from 52,029 in 2010 to 28,483 last year.
Now the DVLA has revealed the five areas where police are more likely to stop a motorist who is high than one over the alcohol limit.
Cases of those getting behind the wheel high have risen from 12,163 in 2019 to 13,732 last year, with 97 per cent of those charged convicted
Liverpool was recorded as the city with the most drug drivers, according to the figures released after a freedom of information request.
Some 639 motorists were convicted of drug driving in Liverpool last year, against 411 sentenced for drink driving.
Llandudno in North Wales also saw more drug drivers caught, with 455 convicted compared with 410 drink drivers.
Other areas which had more drug-drivers were Southend, Essex, which saw 256 convictions; Hereford where 133 drivers were caught and Llandrindod Wells, Powys, with 25 sentences.
At the same time drink driving court cases have plummeted from 52,029 in 2010 to 28,483 last year
Cannabis joyrider killed two
A driver high on cannabis who hit and killed two cyclists in a stolen car was jailed for 11 years.
Colin Smith, 23, was in a Ford Fiesta going about 70mph on a 40mph road in Speke, Liverpool, when he hit the pair in February, 2019.
He was over twice the legal limit for cannabis.
Smith, pictured, was found guilty of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving at Liverpool Crown Court earlier this year.
In the six years since drug-driving became a specific criminal offence, prosecutions have rocketed from 1,465 in 2015 to a record 13,732 last year, Ministry of Justice figures show.
Last year Merseyside Police announced it had become the first force in the country to make more than 2,000 drug drive arrests in a calendar year after a 19 per cent increase in 2019 from 1,630 drivers held in 2018.
Officers arrested 2,201 motorists, including 1,105 for the use of cannabis, 653 for cocaine and 213 suspected of taking both drugs. In comparison, the force arrested just 1,383 drink drivers in the same period.
David Davies, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, has described a ‘postcode lottery’ in prosecutions with some forces convicting ten times as many drug drivers compared to others.
He told the Police Federation’s Roads Policing Conference earlier this month that nearly half of drug drivers caught have previously been convicted of the offence.
Around two thirds of drug drivers caught are already convicted criminals, he said.
Paul Mountford, a casualty reduction officer in Merseyside Police’s Safer Roads Unit, said it was a ‘significant problem across the country’ which endangers lives, adding: ‘The vast majority of violent crime on our streets is the result of drug disputes between people who sell to those who then go on to wreak havoc on our streets with their impaired driving.’
A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said: ‘Drink or drug driving is completely unacceptable at any time and catching motorists who are prepared to take such a deplorable risk is a priority for every police force in the UK.’