COUNTY NEWS: 100th motorist arrested in Sussex under new laws


Police have arrested the 100th motorist in Sussex under new drug-driving laws introduced in March.

Legislation that came into force on March 2 set legal limits for how much of a substance, both illegal drugs and prescription medication, motorists can have in their system while driving.

Officers no longer need to prove that a motorist is fit to drive, just that the motorist has an illegal level of drugs in their system while driving.

Suspects can be tested using new roadside equipment that indicates whether a motorist has taken cannabis or cocaine, using a swab from inside the driver’s mouth. They are tested for a series of other drugs after they are taken to a police station.

A total of 50 people were arrested on suspicion of drug-driving offences in Sussex between February 1, 2014 and January 31, 2015.

But after the new legislation came into force, twice that total were arrested between March 2 and July 19 on suspicion of the new offence of driving with a proportion of a controlled drug above the legal limit.

The 100th arrest happened at 5pm on July 19 after police stopped a Peugeot 206 in East Parade, Hastings, that appeared not to have a valid MOT.

The 28-year-old driver, from Hastings, was arrested on suspicion of driving with a proportion of a controlled drug above the legal limit and being concerned in the supply of Class B drugs. He was questioned before being released on bail until September 28.

Sergeant Carl Knapp, of Sussex and Surrey roads policing unit, said: “The new legislation and equipment is making a real difference in the way we tackle drug-driving.

“The fact that we are making far more arrests with our new powers compared to previously shows both that the law works but also that there are large numbers of people who are willing to risk their lives and the lives of other road users by taking drugs and driving.

“People who take drugs and get behind the wheel can have slower reaction times, struggle to concentrate and can behave more erratically on the roads, putting everyone in danger.

“We will not tolerate drug-driving and would urge anyone who thinks they know someone who is driving after taking drugs to contact us urgently so that we can act.

“If you know that you have something in your system that could impair your driving, don’t get behind the wheel.”

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug driving or visit

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

To keep up to date with officers looking for drink or drug drivers, follow #opdragonfly on Twitter.

If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs call 999.

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