One year ago today, UK drug driving laws changed. The new rules were designed to crack down on those drivers who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.
It became an offence to have more than a set amount of 17 different controlled drugs in your body. The rule is inclusive of both illegal and medical drugs.
Having drugs in your bloodstream can have an effect on your driving. Certain drugs provide a false sense of confidence and encourage drivers to take risks they likely wouldn’t take if sober. Others relax the body and slow reaction times, meaning it’s tougher to avoid other road users.
If you’re convicted of driving under the influence of drugs, you may receive:
– A minimum 1 year driving ban
– An unlimited fine
– Up to 6 months in prison
– Job loss
– A criminal record
– Increased insurance costs
What are the rules?
It is illegal to drive if you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your bloodstream, or if you are unfit to drive due to drugs (legal or otherwise).
Police are able to pull you over and carry out a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they believe you are under the influence of drugs. They can test you on the roadside, to identify use of cannabis or cocaine, followed by screening for ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroine.
Even prescription medicines are listed. Some medicines can have a drowsy effect or slow your reaction times. THINK recommends you speak to your doctor about driving if you are prescribed any of the following:
-morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs
Even when the effects of a drug are wearing off, you may experience a ‘come-down’ effect. Feeling fatigued and unable to concentrate is unsafe for drivers, too.
Watch THINK‘s new campaign video above, to serve as a reminder not just of the new laws in place, but the reasons they need to exist at all.
THINK Drug Driving Campaign