Dutch police see increase in number of motorists driving under influence of drugs
An investigation conducted by NU has revealed that, over the past five years, the Netherlands has seen a significant increase in the number of motorists found to be driving under the influence of drugs.
More motorists arrested for driving under the influence of drugs
Figures acquired by NU show that, in 2021, the Dutch police filed over 13.000 reports for incidents where motorists were found to be driving under the influence of drugs. In 2017, this figure was a mere 1.834.
This significant increase can be partially attributed to a change in Dutch law in 2017, which meant driving under the influence of drugs became a separately punishable offence and forced police officers to alter their methods and introduce a new saliva test.
While the police are adamant that the frequency of drug checks has not intensified over the past two years, a spokesperson acknowledged that they didn’t keep a record of precisely how many tests had been carried out.
Unclear which drugs are the most common, Dutch police say
The change to standard police procedure might explain why the increase over the past five years has been so significant, but figures for the first two months of 2022 suggest that it might not be the only reason.
Over 2.650 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in January and February alone. NU notes that, if this trend continues throughout the year, there will be around 16.000 such arrests in 2022 - marking an increase of over 22 percent compared to 2021.
The police were unable to report precisely which drugs motorists were found to be using. “We also do not register motorists under the influence of alcohol whether they have drunk wine or beer. You are simply not allowed to participate in traffic if you've taken a substance that can affect driving skills,” a spokesperson explained.