New Drug Driving Laws Explained

Sunday, 12. April 2015

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New laws come into force on the 2nd March 2015 regarding drug driving. Previously the law has been somewhat loose, mainly because detection has been so hit and miss. Up until now the law has concentrated on illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine but the new legislation mentions specifically not only 8 illegal drugs but also 8 prescription drugs.

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Currently the police have to show that your driving is impaired through taking drugs but in future they will simply have to show that you have taken drugs if they are of the illegal variety. This will be done at the roadside with up to 3 separate saliva tests. If the tests show that the driver has taken drugs he will be taken to a police station where a blood test will be taken.

Motorists found guilty will receive a ban of at least 12 months as well as a jail term of up to 6 months and a fine of up to £5,000. Their driving licence will show that they have been convicted for drug driving and this will remain on their licence for 11 years. Whilst 8 prescription drugs have been included in this legislation drivers are warned that they should not drive if taking any prescription drugs that could affect their driving.

Drivers on medication should seek the advice of their GP or a pharmacist who can advise. In the case of prescription drugs you won’t be convicted if the levels within the body are within the prescribed dosage level unless you are instructed not to drive when taking the drugs. The eight drugs included in the legislation are: clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, methadone and morphine.

It is recommended that if you are taking prescribed drugs that you carry a copy of your prescription. Whilst the mere taking of illegal drugs then driving is illegal so is taking a drug that you are told you shouldn’t take and drive. Be very careful, you could lose your licence.

If you run a company with employees that drive on company business make sure that you have made them aware of the changes in legislation on the 2nd March. It is part of your duty of care. An accident caused by drugs whilst the employee is on company business could land both of you in court. By Graham Hill

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