“These figures are staggering” - More drug drivers than drink drivers arrested in Essex last month

A missing Colchester teenager has been found safe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A missing Colchester teenager has been found safe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

For the first time ever more people were arrested for drug driving than drink driving in Essex last month, police have confirmed.

During November, 125 drivers were arrested on suspicion of drug driving while 114 were arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

A further 34 people were arrested on suspicion of failing to provide a specimen.

Adam Pipe, Essex Police’s head of road policing, said: “These figures are staggering and really highlight how much of an issue drug driving in Essex is.

“We’ve always known it was an issue but we’re now really seeing the full extent of it.

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“Part of the reason we’re seeing more people arrested for drug driving offences is the fact we have more equipment with which to test drivers, but it also shows how prevalent it is.

“We find that 98% of drug drivers are male and most are between the age of 17 and 25.

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“We tend to see more people with cannabis in their system than cocaine and many people aren’t aware of how long it stays in your system.

“The easiest way to avoid being caught drug driving is just not to do it at all.”

The figures come amid Essex Police’s Christmas anti-drink and drug drive campaign, which saw 91 people arrested with the first nine days of the operation - 37 of those being arrests for drug driving.

Mr Pipe added: “My officers will be out throughout December carrying out proactive operations and working on intelligence and information from the public to identify and arrest drink and drug drivers.

“If you’re driving under the influence you are being unbelievably reckless and risking your life as well as those of other road users.

“We find a lot of people caught drink or drug driving are only doing short journeys so think there’s a low risk of getting caught. That is absolutely not the case.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re driving one mile, 10 miles, or 100 miles - if you’re drink or drug driving you’re dangerous and you could kill someone.

“This Christmas please drive safe, drive sober so you don’t find out how it feels.

“I would urge anyone who has any information about someone who is drink or drug driving to contact us.”

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