What would you do if you killed or injured your partner or friend? How would you cope if you went to prison? How would you cope if you lost your job?
These are just some of the questions that Cheshire Police are asking young motorists to think about before they get behind the wheel, as part of a new campaign aimed at reducing the number of drug drivers.
Since the introduction of the Drug Drive Law in March 2015, the force has already arrested almost 500 people for drug driving, and the majority of those arrested were young men between the ages of 17 and 30.
Superintendent Bev Raistrick said: “It’s disheartening to see that so many young people still believe that it is acceptable to drive whilst under the influence of drugs.
“Driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous; it affects your reaction time, making it harder for you to judge your speed, judge your distance between you and other vehicles and notice potential hazards. All of this means that you are more likely to be involved in a collision whilst driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
“Every day officers have to deal with the devastating consequences of drug driving, whether that is arresting offenders, attending fatal collisions or supporting families who have lost loved ones in collisions caused by drug driving.”
To engage young drivers in the debate Cheshire Police have taken to social media channels with #NoGoingBack and are urging people to get involved by going online and spreading the messages to their friends and family.
Superintendent Raistrick added “We want all young drivers to think about the effects that drug driving could have on them, how they would cope if they lost a loved one? How would they cope if they lost their job?
“I truly feel that if they stepped back and thought about the consequences of their decision to drive under the influence of illegal drugs then they would change their mind. Drug driving can have a devastating impact, not only on the offenders themselves, but also on the lives of other innocent road users.
“We’re also keen to reach out to the parents of young drivers and ask them to take time to talk to their children about the about the consequences of drug driving. Spending just a couple of minutes talking to their child, or showing them the #NoGoingBack video, could be the difference between life and death.”
Underpinning the campaign, which has been funded by the Department of Transport, the constabulary has a number of roadside drug testing kits which will be used to specifically target suspected drug drivers.
Assistant chief constable Mark Roberts said: “Cheshire Police is committed to making Cheshire’s roads safer. We will use all of the tools and powers available to us to help us achieve our goal.
“Cheshire has the highest conviction rate for drug driving in the whole of the North West, and one of the highest in the UK, so offenders are more likely to be caught in Cheshire than are anywhere else in the region.
“Anyone who is caught drug driving faces a minimum 12 month driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison and a criminal record, this could affect their job, their family and their livelihood.”
Police and crime commissioner John Dwyer added: “It’s great to see that Cheshire Constabulary is taking such a proactive approach tackling drug driving.
“The consequences of drug driving can cause a ripple effect that can have catastrophic and devastating ramifications for not only the driver of the vehicle, but innocent members of the public who may become involved in the incident.
“I’m glad to see the positive stance being taken by the chief constable and officers here in Cheshire and support them in the work they do.”