posted 4 years ago

New Drug-Drive Legislation: Am I Fit To Drive?

New Drug-Drive Rules Come Into Force March 2nd 2015

New drug-drive legislation relating to both illegal and prescription substances comes into force in England and Wales on March 2nd 2015, a THINK! safety campaign has emphasised.

Purpose Of The Legislation

The purpose of the legislation is two-fold. Firstly, it penalises those that risk lives by driving while impeded by illegal substances such as cocaine and heroin. The Department for Transport has stated that the legal limits are set at “very low levels”.

Secondly, it recognises that some prescription substances can – if taken to excess or for illegitimate purposes – imped a driver's ability. Legal limits are set to “exceed normal prescribed doses”.

Sensible Drivers Have Nothing To Fear

The Department for Transport claims there should be no legal concerns for a motorist that takes prescription medicine “in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional and/or as printed in the accompanying leaflet”. This assumes no impairment. 

Robert Goodwill, Road Safety Minister, explained: If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law and there is no need to worry.”

Professor David Taylor, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Spokesperson and Member of the Department for Transport Advisory Panel on Drug Driving added: “Don’t stop taking your medicines - prescribed or otherwise - if you are worried about this new law.” Instead, he said, “talk to your doctor or pharmacist for information about how your medicines might affect your ability to drive.” He concluded: “They’ll be happy to give you the advice you need to stay safe.”

Medical Defence

Should a prescription substance put a motorist over the legal limit – but not to the point of impairment – he or she can claim a medical defence. On this basis, THINK! has advised any driver that requires medication at high doses to carry evidence that can be shown to a police officer. Examples include the prescription slip.

Tables Of Drugs And Limits

New legislation relates to the following illegal substances:

Illegal Substances Threshold limit in blood
benzoylecgonine 50µg/L
cocaine 10µg/L
delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (cannabis) 2µg/L
ketamine 20µg/L
lysergic acid diethylamide 1µg/L
methylamphetamine 10µg/L
6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin) 5µg/L

 New legislation relates to the following prescription substances:

Prescription Substances Threshold limit in blood
amphetamine 250µg/L
clonazepam 50µg/L
diazepam 550µg/L
flunitrazepam 300µg/L
lorazepam 100µg/L
methadone 500µg/L
morphine 80µg/L
oxazepam 300µg/L
temazepam 1000µg/L

28/02/2015 09:44:52 sean fishing I don't think this is about Ireland. Only you seen the what the people of Ireland went through when they sent u English people in2 this country Sean as for the drink driven comment that's up 2 you if u want 2 put urself and others at risk people all I can say is 1day I hope the police get you. Cus see if it was 1of my family members hurt by your drink driven you would need 2 phone them for help. As English government they shit if the people of Ireland got what we wanted not 2 be part of the uk sure didn't they have 2 go begging to the Scottish government 2stay in the uk.

In reply to 'steve matchett' who lives in the wonderful irish society [who not many moons ago were bombing and killing innocent bystanders], unfortunately, that's how the drink driver thinks, 'I'm fine to drive after a few pints', bit of a nieve view I thinks!!!

Well said Chris jones

Sminky Pinky an answer 2 u. I've been on tramdol tablets for 15/20 years now and I've been driven a good half of that. my docter wouldn't tell me not 2drive if he thought It was dangering myself and other road users. I also was a fork lift driver for years and as ppl out there no that u get drug test etc every few months and never1s was stop doing my job. Ppl like myself need 2take are tradol for reason that we can't help. What's wrong here is ppl like urself love putting other drivers down. Look how many DLA car are out there these days so are u going 2 put these ppl down and tell them they shouldn't drive. Every time u put urself on a drivers seat in a car no matter wat lives a danger. I think the English state is a complete joke and all I can say thank god us Irish ppl have are own government. How many ppl do u no are on drugs for a reason it is not there fault do u put them down for driven I bet not!!! I wouldn't drive myself if I thought for a second I would be putting not just me and my family in danger and other road users in danger. So I think its about time u look at ur own driven skills and record then come back 2me and tell me different.

I'm worried about this . I take 30 mg twice a day of zomorph which is slow release morphine. I know I'm safe to drive and have been on this dose for 4 years . Only time I'm tired is when the dog wakes me during night . If I can't drive I can't work. There's more people on the roads putting people in danger by driving whilst tired. I'm going to speak to my dr tomorrow . But worried after what others have said about them not issuing a letter incase of any comebacks

I have been taking oxazepam for well over 50 years now. It was originally prescribed as a muscle relaxant, but find that it does indeed cause (which it states on the leaflet) If I take one prior to going to bed at - say - 11.00pm. There would be now way that I should be driving before 11.00am the next morning. So perhaps there is some reasoning behind these rules. Unfortunately they cause a 'catch all' situation.

The chances of a doctor or pharmacist giving definitive advice is likely to be remote after the first few prosecuted drivers have sued them for thousands of pounds. Doctors once freely issued covering letters for many purposes but now a patient must plead on bended knees and cross a palm with hard cash before prising the vaguest of notes from a doctor... In many ways the Law really is an ass because in the matter of drugs, just as with alcohol, the Law requires motorists not to drive when unfit to do so when the substances involved often have a tendency to remove the power of the mind to make rational judgements. As if that isn't bad enough the effects of substances, including alcohol, not only vary between individuals but can vary a great deal in a single individual in different circumstances; times, health conditions, emotional state and so forth. Technology could provide the answer by fitting a breathalyser and drug tester to every car so every driver must prove a fitness to drive before the engine will start.

Just to add I take tramadol modified release tablets for a back problem these have no effect what so ever on my driving unlike the std tablets but will have a similar reading on a test .I have regular yearly tests at work and they state that I need to show my prescription for proof ... But just to add tramadol is synthetic not opiate based but has a similar footprint when tested so it can be argued I've been taking them now for 10 years . But the main thing here is it's synthetic So reactions to it are different from one person to the next so it's not possible to put everyone under the same umbrella .

I don't see MDMA (ecstasy) in the banned list!

I cant help but get the feeling this is just another money making rip of by the goverment. People on perscription meds wont be taking them from choice so would police time be better used in targeting unsafe cars, unlicensed drivers and mot / insurance issues

I am taking prescription medication for a serious medical condition and I absolutely agree with there being a limit set! The legislation does not affect those taking medication within normal prescribed limits, providing they have been prescribed. I am taking my medication well within my prescribed limits but I am still aware of the effects of it on me personally and the reduction of my thinking time. This is why I now use taxis and do not drive when I have taken it. Our roads will be safer if those with ANY sort of similar impairment are taken off the roads. I don't mean all disabled drivers as there are lots of controls which can be adopted within a vehicle to assist and which means that in fact there is no continuing impairment. Those commenting about how outrageous this really should think about what they are saying.

To Stephen Matchett: Tramadol is an opioid-based drug and referring to it states "morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs" within the prescription drugs. Personally, having taken Tramadol before I wouldn't go near a car whilst on it: if it doesn't feel right it probably isn't. I note that although there are limits above which it's illegal, there is also the catch-all phrase "they aren’t causing you to be unfit to drive", irrespective of levels.

Surprised there is a limit on illegal drugs? And for legal prescribed drugs l believe sensible people have no worries? And any mental health taking prescribed drugs not driving well will be found! Good, as they could kill others or themselves! Not nice but needs to be controlled! Just want to know was there, is there a big problem with the above?

Including people on prescription medication is ridiculous,why the sudden move towards drug driving looks like another money revenue for government to hit the motorist,if there is to be a zero tolerance law in effect drink driving should be top of the list as this causes far more deaths,accidents etc than any drug drive stats recorded.This country has become a dumping ground for Europe's wasters the uk is a joke.No back bone all to scared of upsetting some scroungers human rights.

I would like 2 no if tramadol count as I myself have 2take them or I wouldn't be able 2get on with my daily life. Thank god this is not law in n.Ireland. at the end of the day it also states don't drink alcohol with any tablet u get off docter do ppl lisren???? At the end of the day if u didn't need the tablets the docter give u me personaly would take them. The laws in this country is a complete joke

I'm amazed they've allowed any amount of illegal substance in drivers. Even though prescription drugs are legal, it doesn't mean that their existence in the body doesn't cause side effects including drowsiness so, absolutely, they should be taken into account. Incidentally, as well as not driving until you know the effects of the medication on your system, you also should not consume alcohol with most drugs, which probably counts for the vast majority of the population...

I don't agree with this on prescribed medications for those who are in control.I know its says not to worry if in control but if that were the case then why include them One simply can't trust these law makers...They want drivers off the road so they start with the disabled ones period!!

I totally agree about testing for illegal drugs, but people on prescription drugs should not be included. This tipycal of this country they can,t just go for the drivers breaking the law they have include normal people going about their normal business

As most prescription drugs tend to have a warning that they 'may cause drowsiness' it is likely that GPs may advise 'no driving' whilst on a course of pills in order to safeguard themselves. This has the feeling of being yet another unworkable bit of legislation. I fully support keeping heavy drug and alcohol abusers off our roads and it is evident that many people have no concept of how their reactions are affected by certain prescription meds, but enforcing it is going to be fraught with problems.

What about tramadol and pregabalin?

Have to be very careful how much you drink - and I don't mean alcohol but plain old water! Benzoylecgonine has been found in drinking water supplies in the UK - its produced as a breakdown of cocaine and its measurement has even been used to measure the number of cocaine users in the area! Probably very high around Westminster....

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How is the average person going to know their blood level , the most they may know is the quantity in mg that they take !!

I'm in trouble - I take all of those.

Fair enough!