Drug Driving

Did you know that drug driving carries the same penalties as drink driving.

It’s illegal to drive if either:

  • you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs
  • you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they haven’t affected your driving)

Legal drugs are prescription or over-the-counter medicines that can have side effects.  If you’re taking them and not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

The police can stop you and make you do a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they think you’re on drugs. This is a series of tests such as asking you to walk in a straight line. They can also use a roadside drug kit to screen for cannabis and cocaine.

If they think you’re unfit to drive because of taking drugs, you’ll be arrested and will have to take a blood or urine test at a police station.

You could be charged with a crime if the test shows you’ve taken drugs.

For further information about drugs driving, visit: Drugs and driving: the law - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

What are the consequences?

If you’re convicted of drug driving you could get:

  • a minimum 1 year driving ban
  • an unlimited fine
  • up to 6 months in prison
  • Both a fine and a prison sentence
  • a criminal record

Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.

The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Watch this Drug Drive advert from Think! which warns people who drive under the influence of drugs that a change in the law means it’s now easier to get caught.

Other problems you could face

A conviction for drink or drug - driving also means:

  • your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
  • you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA
  • You can’t drive anywhere in the UK if you’ve been banned by any UK court because of drink driving.

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