We’ve launched a new campaign with The Safer Essex Roads Partnership, (SERP) to tackle the issue of drug driving with drug drivers in Essex more likely to be caught than ever before.

If you drug drive in Essex you are more likely to be caught than ever before and you could lose your licence, your job, your home, or even your life.

The campaign seeks to educate drivers by raising awareness of drug driving and the potentially damaging consequences to drivers and other road-users.

More people have been arrested on suspicion of drug driving in Essex in 2019 than drink driving, and in 2018 one in three fatal collisions we investigated had a drugs element.

We are taking a new approach to highlight the issue and our campaign includes a video and graphics which highlight that drugs stick around in your system and even if you do not look or feel stoned, you could still have drugs in your system that will show up during a roadside test. During this campaign we’re using humour to attract attention to the very serious issue.

Aims of the campaign

Adam Pipe, Head of Roads Policing, said: “By the end of this year we’ll have seen as many drug drive arrests in 2019 as in 2017 and 2018 combined.

“Drug drivers tell my officers they don’t think they’ll get caught. The reality is we’ve more than 500 officers trained to use drug wipes so you’re actually more likely to get caught than ever before.

“Drug drivers also tell us that taking drugs is part of their lifestyle, part of their daily routine. What they don’t realise is that drugs stick around in your system.

“Even if you don’t look or feel stoned you could still be over the drug driving limit, and if you’re stopped and drug wiped you’ll be arrested.

“Drugs are illegal so you shouldn’t be taking them anyway, but if you are going to please don’t get behind the wheel.”

Mr Pipe explained why we’ve taken this approach: “We’ve talked a lot about drug driving in the last 18 months but it seems the message isn’t getting through so we’ve decided to take a different and radical approach to raising awareness to the issue.

“We’re using humour to attract attention to it but that in no way means we’re downplaying the seriousness of it or how devastating the consequences can be.

“Drug driving shatters lives. It is a factor in one in three fatal collisions we investigate. It is unacceptable and it is completely avoidable.

“The way we’ve been talking about drug driving obviously hasn’t been working so we have to approach it in a different way.

“If you’re convicted of drug driving you’ll lose your licence for at least a year. That could impact on your ability to work and pay your bills meaning you could also lose your job and your home.

“Worse than that, if you drug drive you could kill yourself or someone else.

“Is the high worth the low?”

Nicola Foster, Chairman of The Safer Essex Roads Partnership, said: “The number of arrests for drug driving is both shocking and saddening.

“Taking drugs and then driving are two things that simply don’t mix well. You might feel fine but if you are over the drug drive limit, you are risking your life as well as the lives of others.

“1,500 drivers arrested in Essex this year thought they wouldn’t get caught, or weren’t aware of the limit.

“Please don’t let your choices hurt someone else.”

In 2017 we made 754 drug driving arrests, in 2018 that number rose to 1,039, and in 2019 it is set to surpass 1,750.

There have been more drug driving arrests than drink driving arrests in 10 of the past 12 months with a record 184 made in November.