More than 900 arrests for drug-driving

Traffic on a motorway Image copyright PA

More than 900 motorists have been arrested on suspicion of drug-driving since a new offence was introduced in March, figures suggest.

The figures, which cover most police forces in England and Wales, are the first to be released since the new laws came into force.

The Met Police had the most arrests, with 214 between 2 March and 11 May.

Home Office Minister Mike Penning said the government was "determined to tackle the menace of drug-driving".

The statistics - obtained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) under the Freedom of Information Act - showed there had been 902 drug-driving arrests in total.

Roadside 'drugalysers'

Northumbria Police recorded the second highest number of arrests with 97, followed by Cheshire, which recorded 70 arrests, and Sussex, which recorded 58.

According to the figures, forces in Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Gwent have yet to make any arrests.

Six forces did not provide figures.

The new laws, which were introduced in England and Wales, set limits at very low levels for eight drugs, including cannabis and cocaine.

Police are able to use a roadside "drugalyser" to screen for illegal substances.

"People who drive under the influence not only put their own lives at risk, but also those of innocent motorists, pedestrians and their passengers," Mr Penning said.

"That's why we introduced a new drug-driving offence which came into force in March.

"And why we approved two mobile drug-testing devices for use by police forces and encouraged chief constables to use them to help identify drug-drivers."

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