Dozens of drug drivers snared in just two months in police roadside campaign in Suffolk and Norfolk

The drug test used at roadsides. Pic: Suffolk Constabulary.

The drug test used at roadsides. Pic: Suffolk Constabulary. - Credit: Archant

A police campaign targeting drug drivers in Suffolk and Norfolk caught almost 40 motorists who were under the influence of illegal drugs in just two months.

The clampdown on drivers who get behind the wheel after taking cannabis, cocaine and other substances during the Christmas and New Year period was boosted by new powers and roadside testing kit made available to roadside officers.

Police in Suffolk and Norfolk used 91 drug screening devices in December which resulted in 28 positive tests. In January, some 67 drug tests were carried out with nine positive tests.

New legislation, which covers 17 legal and illegal drugs, and the roll-out of drug detection devices has made it easier to identify and prosecute drug drivers, police chiefs said.

Chief inspector Kristin Barnard, the new head of the Norfolk and Suffolk roads policing unit, said: “Although we are only seeing a minority of drivers in the counties driving under the influence of drugs, it is still putting other road users at risk of a serious collision or even fatality.

“Any amount of drug, whether it is prescribed or illegal can impair your ability to drive and decrease your reaction times.

“The new laws have made it easier for officers to tackle drug drivers, because there is a prescribed legal limit for substances. Along with the roadside drug tests, it allows both Suffolk and Norfolk Police to deal with offenders more effectively.

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“It is therefore essential that drivers read the instructions of any prescription medication before getting behind the wheel.”

A drug drive conviction will result in a criminal record, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a fine of up to £5,000. People could also lose their job if convicted, police also warn.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “I fully support the Constabulary’s stance on drug driving and I’m pleased to see that the new roadside kits are enabling our officers to carry out roadside tests on drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs.”

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