New drug drive law: Are you up to date?

From 2nd March 2015, a new drug drive law will be in effect in the UK, which include certain prescription medications as well as illegal drugs.

The prescription medications included in the new law are:

  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam
  • Methadone
  • Morphine

The limits for the amount of these drugs you can have in your system exceed normal prescribed doses, so if you are prescribed any of the above medications, as long as you take it as prescribed and your driving is not impaired then will not be breaking the law and there is no need to worry.

If you are unsure about the effects of your medication or how the new legislation may affect you, do not stop taking your medication but speak to your pharmacist or make an appointment with your doctor.

There will also be a medical defence if a driver has been taking medication as directed and is found to be over the limit, but not impaired.

THINK! advises drivers who are taking prescribed medication at high doses to carry evidence with them, such as prescriptions slips, when driving in order to minimise any inconvenience should they be asked to take a test by the police. You could be prosecuted if you drive with certain levels of these drugs in your body and you haven’t been prescribed them.

The law doesn’t cover Northern Ireland and Scotland but you could still be arrested if you’re unfit to drive.

Penalties for drug driving
If you’re convicted of drug driving you’ll get:

  • A minimum 1 year driving ban
  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • Up to a year in prison
  • A criminal record

Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving, which will last for 11 years.

The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

A conviction for drug driving also means:

  • Your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • If you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
  • You may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA

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