Latest research by the Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed that people who use drugs and drive believe it to be ‘much more acceptable’ than drinking and driving.

The survey, which was commissioned by the DfT and was based on in-depth interviews with people who admitted to drug driving in the last year, revealed that drug drivers do not believe their driving ability is impaired by taking substances such as cannabis, cocaine and MDMA. Some survey participants claimed that smoking cannabis calms them down before driving, something they believe makes them less likely to be involved in a road traffic collision.

New drug driving regulations came into force on 02 March 2015 which make it an offence to be over the specified limit for individual drugs. A roadside drug driving test was also made available to police forces earlier this year which makes it easier to convict and charge offending drivers.

It is estimated that drug driving is the cause of around 200 road deaths a year in the UK.

Helen Williams, a senior road accident solicitor based in Thompsons’ Solicitors Bristol office, said: “Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can seriously impair an individual’s ability to drive. This research reveals some frankly alarming misconceptions about drug driving.

“For decades we have seen anti-drink driving awareness campaigns which have helped to considerably reduce the number of drink driving related deaths, as well as ensure that drink driving is regarded as dangerous, anti-social and unacceptable behaviour.

“It is high time that we see a similar level of investment put into anti-drug driving campaigns. It is clear that people have minimal understanding of the very real and grave consequences that drug driving can have. Given these attitudes, education about the dangers of drug driving needs to be as much of a priority as drink-driving awareness campaigns. It is the only way to help bring an end to the devastation caused by careless drug drivers.”