Drug-driving deaths increase for second year in succession
The number of people killed by drug-driving on Kent’s roads has risen for the second year in a row, prompting a stark warning.
The data released by Kent County Council (KCC) reveals 59 incidents were a result of drugs, including 16 serious injuries and three deaths.
The year before, there were 53 incidents, 10 of which resulted in serious injuries and two in fatalities.
The figures have prompted KCC to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs throughout November.
KCC 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.”
Separately, police have warned of the consequences drug drivers might face if they are caught.
Ch Insp Richard Smeed said: “Getting a drug-driving conviction could cost you your driving licence, and perhaps even your job and your home. 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.”
Drivers who get behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs face criminal records, losing their licences and unlimited fines.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service road-safety manager Lawrence Pater 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.”
Police, Kent County Council and the fire and rescue service highlighted the dangers of driving while under the influence of recreational drugs
KCC is running a drug-driving campaign this month