New data published by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has highlighted the considerable impact that new roadside drug tests have had on clamping down on illegal drug users across the UK.

According to the NPCC, a total of 1,888 people were tested using roadside screening devices in England and Wales during December, with almost 50 per cent (931 people) found to have illegal drugs in their system.

The new tests enable officers to administer on-the-spot checks for 17 legal and illegal drugs, with motorists that are over the limit for any of these substances subsequently arrested and prosecuted.

It forms part of a nationwide clampdown on drug-driving, which claims the lives of hundreds of innocent people each year. New legislation allowing the introduction of these roadside tests was passed last year.

Alice Bailey, campaigns officer for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "These drug drivers figures show just how much this law change was needed to help keep our roads safer and send a clear message to anyone driving after taking drugs that they will be caught.

However, she added "we must continue to press home the simple message that after drinking any [amount of] alcohol or taking any drugs you are not fit to drive".

Approximately 200 people are killed every year on the nation's roads as a result of drug-driving, with hundreds more injured or seriously injured in accidents where both the consumption of legal or illegal drugs has been a factor.