By Mark Stillman
The number of motorists admitting to drug-driving is falling, according to government figures.
Just 0.5 per cent of motorists said they had driven under the influence of drugs during the 2012/13 financial year compared with 1 per cent who owned up to this offence during 2011/12.
Based on a survey by the Office for National Statistics, the figures also showed that 6.4 per cent of motorists had admitted drink-driving at least once in 2012/13 compared with 7.4 per cent in 2011/12.
Worst offenders aged 25-29
The worst offenders appeared to be those aged 25-29, with 10 per cent admitting drinking and driving at least once in 2012/13 - a rise on the 2011/12 figure of 8.6 per cent for this age group.
The government also released provisional figures for road casualties in Britain during summer 2013 (July to September).
These showed that deaths, at 470, were the same as in summer 2012, while those killed or seriously injured (KSIs) fell 3 per cent to 6,520.
Slight injuries were down 4 per cent to 42,570.
Total car user and pedestrian casualties were down, but there were increases in the number of motorcyclist (up 1 per cent) and pedal cyclist (up 8 per cent) casualties, with a 1 per cent increase in the number of motorcyclist KSIs and a 2 per cent increase in pedal cyclist KSIs.
The Department for Transport said it was likely that these increases were at least partly due to the different weather conditions in summer 2013, with summer 2012 being much wetter than normal.
Total child KSIs were down 15 per cent, while child pedestrian KSIs fell 17 per cent.
'Drug driving problem needs to be tackled'
AA president Edmund King said: "It is encouraging to see a significant drop in the number of drivers who say they have driven under the influence of illegal drugs in the last year.
"The problem of drug driving is no secret and it needs to be tackled.
"It is concerning that young drivers in their twenties were twice as likely ( per cent) than the general driving population (0.5 per cent) to say they had drug driven in the last year."
Institute of Advanced Motorists' director of policy and research Neil Greig said: "It is reassuring to see an overall drop in the number of road casualties.
"But the fact remains that nearly a quarter of road deaths are a result of criminal driving acts.
"Targeted action by the police to drive down the numbers of these criminal driving acts could potentially have huge societal benefits."
RAC technical director David Bizley said the downward trend in road casualty figures was welcome but the 8 per cent rise in pedal cyclist injuries was "worrying".