On yer bike

Driving bans have doubled since 2014, probably thanks to drugs and phones

3rd April 2019

The number of people banned from driving doubled after drug driving laws were brought in, The Overtake has learned.

In 2014, 52,985 people were either permanently or temporarily banned from driving, while in 2018, this figure rocketed to 117,572, data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows.

The biggest change happened between 2014 and 2015, coinciding with the introduction of a law to prevent people driving under the influence of drugs.

While previously, drivers could be banned for driving dangerously as a result of legal or illegal drugs, the law introduced in early 2015 brought drug driving into line with drink driving, making it easier for police to arrest drug-affected drivers.

Drug screening tests have also been introduced, capable of detecting cannabis and cocaine.

The law, Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations in 2014, makes it an offence to drive while over specified limits for a total of 17 drugs, including codeine, tramadol, diazepam and amphetamines.

This applies where the driver is taking them under a doctor’s supervision but is “impaired”.

In 2017, laws about the use of mobile phones were also tightened, which could be partly responsible for the increase between 2016 and 2017.

The data also shows a tenfold increase between 2007 and 2008, the source of which still remains a mystery.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Crown Prosecution Service, the National Police Chiefs Council, the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Transport all said they were not monitoring the rise in bans and none would take responsibility for explaining why it had happened.

3rd April 2019