Drug-drivers face mandatory rehab courses before getting back on the road

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set out the plan due to concerns about levels of repeat offending.

04 April 2022

Drug-drivers will be forced to undertake rehabilitation courses before being allowed back behind the wheel, under proposals from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The Cabinet minister set out the plan due to concerns about levels of repeat offending.

Any new legislation passed in Westminster would apply to Britain’s roads but not those in Northern Ireland.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said there were more than 12,000 convictions for drug-driving in Britain in 2019, with 44% committed by repeat offenders.

Those convicted of drug-driving are handed a driving ban, prison sentence or fine by the courts, but are not currently required to complete rehabilitation courses such as those offered to drink-drivers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he wants to ‘protect the public from this hidden problem’ (James Manning/PA)

Mr Shapps said: “Drink-driving is now rightly seen as a social taboo by most of us in this country and we have worked hard to drive down drink-drive related deaths.

“But if we are to make our roads safer still, there is no room to be lax on drug-driving, which is why I have launched this call for evidence today.

“It’s only right that drug-drivers must undergo rehabilitation before getting back behind the wheel, helping protect the public from this hidden problem and stamping out drug-driving for good.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Drug-driving ruins lives and threatens the safety of all road users.

“We welcome proposals to offer drug-driving offenders rehabilitation courses, in the same way those caught drink-driving are offered them, because the evidence shows this helps to reduce reoffending and improves road safety.”

Non-attendees of drink-driving rehabilitation classes are more than twice as likely to reoffend within three years, according to the DfT.

The call for evidence will also seek views on medicinal cannabis to “ensure road safety policy keeps up to date with changing societal norms”, the department said.

In the UK, it is an offence to drive impaired by drugs.

It is also illegal in Britain to drive with certain banned drugs, such as cocaine or cannabis, in your system.

A risk-based approach is taken for specific drugs associated with medical use, meaning it can be legal to drive after taking them if they were prescribed.

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