A week-long campaign focussing on the dangers of drug driving will be launched in South Yorkshire next week.
Statistics show that nationally the number of convictions for drug driving continues to increase year on year.
In a bid to raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) is promoting a week of activity across the UK.
Joanne Wehrle, manager of South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, said: “The consequences of drug driving are exactly the same as drink driving and there is absolutely no excuse.
“Not only will you be significantly increasing your chances of being involved in a collision, potentially injuring yourself and others, you are also risking other personal consequences such as a fine, losing your licence, prison and a criminal record.
“We all need to take responsibility for our actions on the road and prevent the unnecessary hurt and suffering caused by collisions.”
Conviction and casualty data shows that men under 30 are most likely to be involved in a collision where drugs are a contributory factor.
“If you think someone has been taking drugs, don’t get in the car with them,” added Joanne.
“Unlike alcohol, it can take days and weeks before some drugs get out of your system completely, meaning even occasional users may still test positive and be guilty of driving under the influence of drugs.
“Think about what it’s worth – just don’t do it.”
If you’re convicted of drug driving you face a minimum one-year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison and a criminal record. Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.
The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs currently stands at a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Inspector Jason Booth, from South Yorkshire Roads Policing Group, said: “It’s always disheartening to see people acting so carelessly by choosing to take drugs and drive.
“Taking drugs severely impairs your abilities behind the wheel, affecting concentration, reaction times and your movements, all of which can have fatal consequences.
“Please, keep yourselves safe and don’t drive or ride under the influence of drugs."
As well as illicit substances such as cannabis and cocaine, it is illegal to drive or ride if you are impaired by prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
Under the current law, it is the responsibility of the driver or rider to check whether their medication can affect them.
“Drivers are advised to always read the label on the packaging of any medicines they are taking and if in doubt, speak with a doctor or pharmacist,” added Joanne.
“Visit our website to see a list of medications where it is advised that you speak to your doctor before driving.”
Throughout next week SYSRP will run a social media campaign #dontdoit