Research carried out by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has highlighted the shocking statistic that ten per cent of young male drivers admit to having driven under the influence of cannabis.

According to the organisation's findings, this correlates to approximately 750,000 young male motorists who have broken the law in this manner, while a further 370,000 have driven under the influence of class A drugs.

The figures are a chilling reminder of the prevalence of this dangerous and illegal activity and highlight the growing need for police officers to be able to crack down on this offence.

Meanwhile, the issue of impairment from legal over-the-counter drugs is also to come under the microscope, as officers will be given stronger powers to ensure individuals who are unfit to get behind the wheel of a vehicle are reprimanded for doing so.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Any new equipment that will allow police to make quick and accurate decisions at the roadside or at the police station on drivers who are impaired by drugs is great.

"In this way, traffic officers can get back out on to the frontline of roads policing, where their impact is highest."

The news follows similar comments from road safety organisation Brake, which highlighted the welcome introduction of new laws to tackle drug driving in the UK as part of the upcoming Crime, Communications and Court Bill.

In it, police will be given greater powers to stop suspected motorists who are under the influence of drugs, as well as providing officers with roadside drug testing kits.

Individuals found guilty of driving under the influence of illegal substances will also be subject to fines of up to £5,000 and prison sentences of up to one year.

Brake senior campaigns officer Ellen Booth said: "Creating a new offence, as well as approving roadside drug screening devices by the end of 2012, will make an enormous difference in preventing drug driving crashes."

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Posted by Jack Smith

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