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Did you know?

  • It is an offence to drive having over the specified limits of certain drugs in the blood.
  • Drivers in England, Wales and Scotland convicted of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs face a minimum period of disqualification of 5 years and the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
  • Driving while impaired by drugs is thought to be a major contributor to death and injury on the roads.
Drugs that act on the central nervous system can impair many functions associated with individuals’ abilities to drive safely.

48% of fatally injured drivers each year test positive for drugs and over 50% of those are positive for two or more drugs.

Drug driving puts people at a higher risk for road incidents.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 created an offence of driving a motor vehicle while the concentration of any specified drug in the blood is above a limit set for that drug.

Police can stop and request a driver does a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they think the driver is on drugs. They can also use a roadside drug kit to screen for cannabis and cocaine. Even drivers that pass the roadside check can be arrested if the police suspect that your driving is impaired by drugs.

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Driving, or attempting to drive, while over the limit or while under the influence of drugs will result in:

  • a minimum 1-year driving ban.
  • an unlimited fine.
  • up to 6 months in prison.
  • a criminal record.
  • an offence which stays on the licence for 11 years.
  • possibly loss of vehicle.

Prescribed medication, and over the counter medication such as cold remedies, must be checked with a doctor to ensure it does not contain banned substances causing a driver to be unfit to drive. A conviction for drug driving also means:

  • a significant increase in vehicle insurance costs.
  • an employer will see the conviction on the driving licence.
  • having trouble travelling to countries like the USA.

The government have taken a zero-tolerance approach when setting the maximum legal limits on drugs that are mostly associated with illegal use.

The government have taken a risk-based approach when setting the maximum legal limits on drugs that are mostly associated with medical use.

This information sheet is free for employers to download and distribute to their drivers.
It may not be amended in any way | Copyright 2022 National Highways.