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New drug drive legislation asks are you fit to drive?

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Watch those prescription drug levels

As well as setting a very low level for eight drugs commonly used illegally, such as cannabis and cocaine, there are now eight prescription drugs included with the new law, which comes into force on 2 March. These all have specific levels, above which is an offence. Although the prescription drugs are perfectly legal in themselves, driving while under undue influence from them puts other road users at risk, hence the new regulations. The eight prescription drugs covered are:

• cloanzepam
• diazepam
• flunitrazepam
• lorazepam
• oxazepam
• temazepam
• methadone
• morphine

However, the limits that have been set for these drugs exceed normal prescribed doses, meaning that the vast majority of people can drive as they normally would, so long as they are taking their medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional and/or as printed in the accompanying leaflet, and that their driving is not impaired.

Robert Goodwill, Road Safety Minister said, “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. We advise anyone who is unsure about the effects of their medication or how the new legislation may affect them, to seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacist.”

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. Drivers who are taking prescribed medication at high doses are advised 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.

Professor David Taylor, Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokesperson and member of the Department for Transport advisory panel on drug driving said, “Don’t stop taking your medicines, prescribed or otherwise, if you are worried about this new law. Instead, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for information about how your medicines might affect your ability to drive. They’ll be happy to give you the advice you need to stay safe.”

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. This will last for 11 years.

For more information on prescription drugs and driving go to the Gov.uk website.

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14/02/2015 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

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