1. ITV Report

More drug than drink drivers caught behind the wheel at Christmas

Nearly 20 drivers in Cumbria failed drugs wipe tests Photo: ITV Border

More drivers in Cumbria were found to be positive for taking cocaine and cannabis, than drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel over the Christmas period.

Cumbria Police gave 64 drivers roadside drugs wipe tests between the beginning of December and New Year's Day, which tests a person's saliva.

Nearly 20 drivers failed the tests, with 13 having taken cannabis and 6 testing positive for cocaine.

During this time, 12 out of the 235 drivers tested were found to be under the influence of alcohol.

Our reporter Robin Davies demonstrates how a drugs wipe test works:

Chief Inspector Andy Wilkinson says he hopes the low number of drink drivers reflects the fact that the offence is completely unacceptable:

We are continuing to train our officers in drugs wipe testing so we can catch drivers who take drugs and get behind the wheel.

Drugs wipe testing is proving a great tool to help us keep Cumbria’s roads safe and by publicising the amount of people we have caught over the festive period, I hope it will serve as a deterrent to those considering getting behind the wheel after drug use.

I hope that the low percentage of drivers who tested positive for alcohol reflects the changes we are seeing in society over the past decade – that drink-driving is a completely unacceptable."

– Chief Inspector Andy Wilkinson said:

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

Other consequences can include the loss of employment, loss of independence and increase in car insurance costs.

Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner says that he hopes the message is clear, that the police aim to take drug drivers off the road:

Whilst I welcome the fact that the numbers caught drink-driving are down this year, it is still disappointing that there are people who – despite all the publicity about the dangers - are still deciding to risk everything by getting behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol.

Twelve people caught is twelve people too many, and we want to get the message out that this is simply not acceptable.

As far as the drug-drivers are concerned, I welcome that we have the tools to be able to catch drivers who break the law in this way, and I hope the message is getting out there to those that take drugs and drive, that the police have the means and the resolve to take you off the road, and won’t hesitate to do so to keep Cumbria safe.”

– Peter McCall, Police and Crime Commissioner, Cumbria Police