The first national TV advertising campaign to tackle drug driving has been launched by Andrew Adonis, transport secretary, after new research showed that one in 10 young male drivers admit to driving after taking illegal drugs.
The £2.3m campaign highlights that the police can and will detect drug drivers – and that anyone convicted will face the same tough penalties as a drink driver. The first TV advert will be shown tonight before Coronation Street.
One in five drivers killed in road accidents may have an impairing drug in their system.
The police can spot the signs that someone is driving under the influence of drugs and – as the new campaign highlights – once a driver has been stopped their eyes will give them away because of the obvious and involuntary effects drugs have on the body. Anyone convicted of driving while unfit through drugs will get a minimum 12 months driving ban, a criminal record and a large fine.
Andrew Adonis said: "Some drivers who would never get behind the wheel after drinking still believe they can drive after taking drugs. We are determined to get the message through to this reckless minority that their behaviour is putting lives in danger.
"The penalties for drug driving are just the same as for drink driving because drug driving is just as dangerous. Drivers should be in no doubt that if you get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs then the police can spot you, they can test you and you will face punishment."
Police forces across the country will be targeting drug drivers throughout the August music festival and holiday season. The new campaign also includes print, poster and on-line advertising as well as music festival and radio sponsorship.