More than a third of drivers pulled over by police in Norfolk and Suffolk during the month of March were under the influence of drugs, according to latest police figures.

Norfolk and Suffolk’s combined roads policing unit carried out roadside drug tests during March as part of a month-long campaign led by the Department for Transport (DfT). Out of 225 roadside drug tests 80 drivers tested positive for illegal drugs.

New drug driving legislation, brought into effect in March 2015, means that it is illegal to drive whilst under the influence of 17 named drugs including some prescription drugs. A roadside ‘drugalyser’ test is now used by police to identify whether a driver is illegally driving under the influence of drugs.

Before the new 2015 drug driving law was introduced, police had to demonstrate that a driver was impaired by drugs in order to succeed in prosecuting a driver.

David Robinson, a serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors said: “To learn that almost a third of drivers pulled over in this particular region were driving under the influence of drugs is shocking.

“It seems that long-standing safety advice about the dangers of drug driving is being ignored. The recently introduced legislation making it easier for police to convict drug drivers will hopefully make those who not only risk their own lives but the safety of other road users too, think twice.

“What though is clear is that the government must do more to ensure drivers are properly educated about the legal implications and serious risks that come with drug driving. That will have a cost but will be money well spent if it reduces the potential harm. Police forces also need to be properly resourced so they can maintain a roadside presence as a deterrent to those who consider flouting the law and driving under the influence of drugs.”