Drugs and Driving Regulations

Posted: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 14:30

Drugs and Driving Regulations

Regulations aimed at cracking down on drug drivers came into force in England and Wales in March 2015.

This brings drug driving legalisation in line with drink driving laws.

Whilst drug driving has always been illegal in England and Wales, the new law sets limits at much lower levels. These levels now border on zero tolerance for drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.

The law also includes eight prescription drugs covering conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, severe pain and epilepsy. The limits set for these drugs exceed normal prescribed doses.

Those found to be drug driving will be banned from driving for at least a year. They can also be fined up to £5,000, spend up to a year in prison and receive a criminal record.

The roadside drug testing kits allow police officers to instantly test for 16 legal and illegal drugs if they suspect a motorist is driving under the influence.

Its illegal to drive if either:

  • You're unfit to do so because you are on legal or illegal drugs
  • You have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they have not affected your driving)

Legal drugs are prescription or over-the-counter medicines. If you're taking them and not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

Prescription Medicines

Its an offence to drive if you have over the specified limits of certain drugs in your blood and you have not been prescribed them.

Discuss with your doctor about whether you should drive if you have been prescribed any of the following drugs:

  • Amphetamine, eg Dexamphetamine or Selegiline
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Methadone
  • Morphine or Opiate and opioid-based drugs, eg Codeine, Tramadol or Fentanyl
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam

Employers need to be aware of these changes, especially surrounding prescription medicines.

Employers need to know it is their responsibility to ask their doctor if any prescribed medication may affect their ability to drive. Those who take prescription medication should also be encouraged to carry proof which they can produce to police if necessary. Procedures need to be in place allowing employers to deal with any employees who fall foul of the drug driving law. They need to consider if they might want to dismiss an employee if a drug driving ban affects their ability to work.

Employers also need to consider the potential insurance problems they may face due to an employee's previous conviction for drug driving.

It is important that employees are made aware of the implications of the law and the potential consequences of its violation

Tags: Commercial, Employment Law