Safety campaign targets drug drivers

A ROAD safety campaign is targeting smokers of cannabis. A radio advertising campaign, backed by new posters and booklets has been commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council road safety officers. The campaign warns that cannabis can slow reaction time

A ROAD safety campaign is targeting smokers of cannabis.

A radio advertising campaign, backed by new posters and booklets has been commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council road safety officers.

The campaign warns that cannabis can slow reaction times, cause drowsiness, impair steering control and reduce co-ordination.

Driving under the influence of drugs also attracts the same penalties as drinking and driving.

Road safety officer Debbie Maith said: "Publicity campaigns have been very successful over the last 20 years in making drink-driving very anti-social. Everyone knows that it is illegal, carries harsh penalties and can dramatically increase your chances of having an accident. We must do the same for drug-driving.

"Driving on any illegal drug can have a negative affect on your co-ordination and reaction times, making it more likely that you'll be involved in a crash. The provisional number of road users killed or seriously injured on our roads (excluding Peterborough) for 2005 is 462, eight lower than our lowest ever figure of 470 in 2003."

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However, Cambridgeshire has an unusually high death toll among car users on rural roads, the incidence of drink-driving is on the increase in recent years after falling for more than a generation, and police are detecting more drug-users behind the wheel since the development of new technology.

More than 60 road users die on the county's roads each year, most of them on rural roads and nearly 20 per cent of them motorcyclists, mostly "born again bikers" - affluent males who buy powerful machines in their 30s and 40s and cannot control them.

Nationally, 85 per cent of serious casualties occur in accidents on urban streets.

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