London, 13 Jan 2004.
For immediate release.

Contact the ABD

Press Release 389

ABD Echoes Call For Drugs Clampdown On The Roads
The Association of British Drivers today added its voice to BRAKE's recent warnings about the dangers of drugs and driving, but expressed concerns that BRAKE may be inadvertently sending the wrong message to drivers.
BRAKE's message continually referred to 'illegal' drugs, but the ABD reminds drivers that many legal drugs can also render a driver unfit to take the wheel of a vehicle.
ABD spokesman Chris Lamb commented
"I remember some years ago becoming uncontrollably sleepy after taking a proprietary cold medicine bought over the counter in a High Street chemist. I didn't attempt to drive whilst I was affected, but had I done so I could quite possibly have killed someone, yet the drug was not only legal, it didn't even need a prescription."
He continued
"Whilst we would whole-heartedly agree with BRAKE on the subject of illegal drugs, their constant references only to 'illegal' drugs are typical of their simplistic approach to safety - if it's legal it's safe, and if it's illegal it's dangerous. This invites comparison with their attitude to legal and illegal speeds - their constant references to speed limits give the impression that driving at 30mph is automatically safe, but driving at 31mph is automatically dangerous."
The ABD's Roads and Traffic spokesman, Mark McArthur-Christie, said
"We are as appalled as BRAKE at the case study they quoted. The driver involved, who was high on a cocktail of cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine, shouldn't have been anywhere near a car, and the police should devote considerable efforts to keeping menaces like that off the roads. Unfortunately, since the police abdicated their responsibility to patrol our roads in favour of planting money-making grey boxes at the side of them drivers like this know they're likely to get away with it."
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory commented
"We note, incidentally, which force mounted the drink and drugs campaign over Christmas which BRAKE mentioned. It was Durham, which has chosen to spend its time looking for drivers who are unfit to be in control of their vehicles instead of blanketing their area with speeding tickets. It's interesting that BRAKE should suddenly hold Durham up as a paragon of virtue, having castigated them for not joining a speed camera partnership!"
He went on
"Paul Garvin, Durham's Chief Constable, has said publicly that drugged drivers are a problem but speeding isn't, so he's putting his money where his mouth is. As BRAKE agree with Mr Garvin that drugs are a major cause of road accidents would they also accept his statement that speeding isn't?"
He concluded
"We echo BRAKE's call for more police efforts to tackle the growing problem of drugged drivers, and suggest that scarce police resources should be pulled away from speed limit-based enforcement, which has been shown to achieve nothing except the alienation of the mass of the driving public."


Notes for Editors