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  1. ITV Report

Arrests for drug-driving soar 800% since new laws were introduced

Drug-drive arrests have soared by up to 800% since new laws were introduced in March last year, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

Police can use 'drugalysers' to screen for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside. Credit: PA Wire

Under the new regulations, police can use "drugalyser" kits to screen for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside.

Tests for these and other drugs such as ecstasy, LSD and ketamine can also be carried out at a police station even if a driver passes the roadside check.

There is virtually zero tolerance for drivers apprehended with illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis in their system.

A spokesman for the department said forces have been given an additional £1 million to train officers, buy drug screening equipment and pay for samples to be analysed.

During the Christmas 2015 anti-drink- and drug-drive campaign, 1,888 drug screening tests were carried out in just one month across England and Wales. Nearly 50% of these resulted in a positive result, according to the DfT.

An AA survey of over 26,000 UK motorists found that 88% support the increased action against drug-drivers.

The organisation's president, Edmund King, claimed it was "remarkable" that the crackdown on drug driving has rallied this level of public support so quickly.

It took decades for drink-driving to become as socially unacceptable as it is now.

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.

– Edmund King, AA President