In March, 2015 new road-side drug screening devices were introduced, along with new driving limits for a string of prescription drugs.
Since then the number of people charged with drug driving – which comes with a one-year ban, up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine (not to mention a criminal record) – has soared 140%, according to a Freedom of Information request by Confused.com'
“New drug driving laws introduced early last year seem to be having an impact, with the number of drug driving arrests increasing by 140%,” said Confused.com motoring expert Matt Lloyd. “This means more motorists who are found to have broken the law are being caught, which in turn will help to make our roads a safer place. There is however, another area for concern around the level of awareness amongst drivers when it comes to how certain medications can affect a person’s driving ability.”
The prescription drugs that can catch you out
While illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are obviously included in the drug-driving laws, there are a string of far more innocuous remedies that could see you banned.
Over-the-counter drugs including codeine, for example, could see you banned. While many other drugs could potentially cause problems because they induce drowsiness.
“This is particularly alarming given the current time of year, especially as more than a third of motorists admit to suffering from hay fever, with many resorting to medication to help combat the symptoms - despite the potential risks of drowsiness and reduced concentration levels,” Confused.com's said.
“Our advice is simple, before taking any medication people should always read the safety leaflet before driving. Or if unsure they should ask the pharmacist or err on the side of caution and don’t drive, as road safety for themselves and others should be a top priority for any driver.”
Here's the Government's full list of legal medication that can result in a drug-driving charge:
- amphetamine, eg dexamphetamine or selegiline
- morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, eg codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
By James Andrews - The Daily Record.uk/May 18, 2016