As from 1st March, 2015 the law has changed in relation to driving while under the influence of drugs.

While the law concerning drinking alcohol and driving has been well established for years, there has been a worrying and steady increase in the number of people found to be driving while under the influence of drugs. Until recently it was not possible for police to accurately measure the content of drug in a drivers system at the scene of an accident or stoppage.

Now however new technology in the form of breath and saliva swipes can give full-proof and evidentially sound readings, so making the prospect of successful conviction far more likely.

Now in addition to the more obvious illegal drugs, which include cocaine, LSD, cannabis, heroin and ketamine, which are already classified as “zero-tolerance,” nine prescription drugs so far are being added to the list. These have legal limits set per litre of blood.

Motorists using them within recommended or prescribed limits will not be penalized.

These are:

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 1,000µg/L

Proof of legitimate use, such as a doctor’s prescription, or where buying off the shelf, keeping the container with you in the car, will be helpful when you are stopped by police.

The penalties for drug-driving are the same as for drink-driving.

A conviction could carry a sentence of a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record, a fine of up to £5000 or at worst, up to 6 months in prison – or both.

Authors: Philip Strickland

Published: 04 Mar 2015


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