RAC Survey reports more drug-driving and mobile use by young

28 March 2013

The RAC survey reports that an increase from 5% to 9% was reported in 17 – 24 year olds who admitted driving whilst under the influence of drugs.

This revelation follows closely upon the Government announcing in the recent Queen’s Speech new measures to tackle drug driving.

Currently the police have to prove that drugs have made you unfit to drive before a successful prosecution can follow.  The Government intend to introduce roadside drug testing kits that are likely to dispense with the need to prove unfitness to drive.

The police currently have powers, in certain circumstances, allowing them to take bodily samples from people who they reasonably suspect are unfit to drive through drink or drugs.  On a conviction for such an offence a court can sentence to a term of imprisonment of up to 6 months, and/or impose a financial penalty.  In addition a court would disqualify from driving in the normal circumstances for at least 12 months.

The recent survey also suggests that there has been a rise from 12% to 18% in the number of 25 – 44 year olds who admit accessing email, Facebook or Twitter on their Smartphone whilst driving.
It is currently a criminal offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road whilst using a handheld mobile phone or similar device.  Although people routinely believe this relates just to making telephone calls whilst driving it applies equally to the use of other functions of such a device.  Using a mobile phone to access email, Facebook or Twitter or to text is regarded as using such a device.  The penalty for this offence is a fine and an obligatory endorsement of 3 points on a driving licence.

Particularly for young drivers this may cause real problems because for those who acquire 6 or more penalty points within 2 years of passing a first driving test then their driving licence will be revoked by the DVLA.
All drivers, but particularly the young, should be aware of police powers in respect of drink and drug driving together with the use of handheld mobile telephones to ensure that they do not fall foul of fines, disqualification and, perhaps worse, prison.

For further information please contact Peter Butterfield of Gepp & Sons on 01245 228131 or butterfieldp@gepp.co.uk