Figures released today show that drug driving has led to an increase in serious injuries on Kent’s roads.
The data, from Kent County Council’s Road Safety Team, shows some motorists are still putting people’s lives at risk by getting behind the wheel while under the influence of illegal substances.
Over the course of 2016, 59 incidents on Kent’s roads were as a result of drugs – including 16 serious injuries and three deaths.
Throughout November, Kent County Council aims to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs.
The hard-hitting campaign highlights how it is impossible to predict how a drug will affect your driving.
Kent County Council Road Safety Team leader Vicky Harvey said: “Drug drivers can suffer from blurred vision, erratic and aggressive behaviour, nausea, hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, shakes, dizziness and fatigue.
“In such a condition, it is a very bad idea to be behind the wheel of a car, for you, your passengers and other people on the roads or pavements.”
“Taking drugs and driving will impair your ability to drive – our message is don’t let drugs take the driving seat; they affect your ability to concentrate, to react in an emergency and to perceive accurately what’s going on around you.”
There were over 100 crashes because of drug driving in Kent over the past two years.
Chief Inspector Richard Smeed from Kent Police said: “Getting a drug-driving conviction could cost you your driving licence, and perhaps even your job and your home, but worse still you could be responsible for causing someone serious injury or death.
“Motorists who do this need to know that drugs stay in the system for longer than alcohol, and often for more than 24 hours.
“It’s illegal, it’s reckless and it’s wrong. It’s as simple as that.”
The campaign’s advertising features a young woman being a ‘puppet’ to the drugs she has taken, showing her getting behind the wheel and the life-changing result.
Motorists who get behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs face a criminal record, loss of their licence for at least a year and an unlimited fine.
It remains an offence to drive while impaired under the influence of any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood; this includes illegal and medical drugs.
Lawrence Pater, Road Safety Manager at Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: “This is all about highlighting the devastating consequences that can happen if a person decides to drive under the influence of drugs or drink. We want people to ask themselves – Is it worth the risk?
“Our firefighters attend too many road crashes – which have life changing impacts on families.
“It’s clear – people are still gambling with their lives and the lives of others when they get behind the wheel.
“Many believe they know how much the limit is – but the simple fact is there is only one way of being sure that you are safe to drive – don’t take drugs or drink alcohol at all if you intend to drive.
“Please keep yourself, your family and others safe – not just across the festive period, but always.”
The campaign will run throughout November on TV, radio Spotify, YouTube, digital screens in pubs and universities and across social media.