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Drug-driving is ‘on the rise’

STARTLING new figures show that the number of accidents on Kent roads involving drivers on drugs is rising. The data shows that in the past

two years, drug-taking was the cause of seven deaths, 200 crashes and 29 serious injuries on the county’s roads. A leading drug-driving expert

has described the never-before- seen figures as “worrying”, saying that many users still don’t realise the devastating effect that illegal drugs can have on a driver. Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Kent County Council have now combined forces to raise awareness of the problem. They are re-issuing a warning in

the run up to Christmas that they will be targeting anyone who puts others’ lives at risk behind the wheel of a car through drink or drugs. Some of the effects of drug-tak-

ing on drivers can include dizzi- ness, hallucinations and blurred

vision. KCC road safety team leader Vicky Watkins said: “Our message is clear: Don’t let drugs take the driving seat; it affects your ability to concentrate, to react in an emergency and to perceive accu- rately what’s going on around you.”

Since last year, Kent Police have

been able to carry mobile drug- screening devices which can quickly identify the presence of drugs including ecstasy, LSD, ket- amine, heroin and cocaine and cannabis in a driver’s body at the roadside. A staggering 8,000 motorists

have been arrested across Britain for failing the test since its intro- duction.

Inspector Sam Pearson, from

Kent Police, said:“We will continue to target drivers who put other peo- ple in danger.” Drivers who are under the influ-

ence of drugs can also suffer from erratic and aggressive behaviour, nausea, panic attacks, paranoia,

dine Brown, chairman of Yalding Parish Coun- cil, judged the fancy dress competition. First prize of a family return rail ticket to London, courtesy of Southeastern, went to Emily Bacon. Second prize went to Daniel Gent and thirdwas Sophie Cramp. Therewere also prizes for those travelling to the event by train. Cllr Stockell said: “Itwasalovely day and the

apple juice pressed by the children was deli- cious. It was hard to choose the best fancy dress, as theywere all so good.” The event was organised by the Kent Com-

munity Rail Partnership with Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, Yalding Parish Coun- cil, Save Our Magnificent Meadows and Kent Orchards for Everyone.

BOOK NOW for a clean Christmas

Fancy dress winners Emily Bacon and Sophie Cramp collect their prizes from judge Cllr Paulina Stockell, and below, a young visitor learns to press apples

Orchard fun for spooks

SPOOKSwere treated to a fun day at Yalding Fenwith apple pressing,wand and lantern making, storytelling, food foraging and fancy dress. County Cllr Paulina Stockell and Cllr Geral-


Maidstone Weald December 2016

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