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Drug Driving

It is an offence to be driving or in charge of a motor vehicle with concentration of a specified controlled drug above specified limit.

Did you know that drug driving carries the same penalties as drink driving? The law states that:

  • It is an offence to be driving or in charge of a motor vehicle with concentration of a specified controlled drug above specified limit (drug-drive) - Section 5A RTA 1988
  • Driving/attempting to drive or being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst unfit (drink or drugs) - Section 4 RTA 1988

If you are convicted of a drug driving offence, you may receive one or many of the following penalties:

  • An 11 year drug driving endorsement on your driving license
  • A 12-month driving ban
  • An unlimited fine
  • Up to 6 years imprisonment
  • A criminal record, which can be seen by current and future employers.

Contrary to belief, you don’t have to be impaired by drugs to be prosecuted for drug driving, police only need to detect their presence. This means that even if your driving is adequate whilst you are on drugs, you can still be stopped, tested and convicted of a drug driving offence. Our officers are conducting roadside drug and alcohol tests daily.

It is also important to note that you may be convicted even a few days after you have consumed drugs. Many illegal substances and prescribed medicines can stay in your system for longer than you think and can be picked up on our tests days later.

If your concern relates to drink driving, please visit our dedicated page HERE.

Prescription Medication and Drug Driving

Most people would not knowingly drug drive. However, there are many prescription drugs and even over the counter medications that can impair your driving and can constitute a drug driving conviction. It’s illegal in England, Scotland and Wales to drive with legal drugs in your body if it impairs your driving. Prescribed and over the counter medicated can cause drowsiness and other side effects which can affect you at the wheel, putting you and others at risk.

According to the Government UK website, you should talk to your doctor about whether you should drive if you’ve been prescribed any of the following drugs:

  • amphetamine, for example dexamphetamine or selegiline
  • clonazepam
  • diazepam
  • flunitrazepam
  • lorazepam
  • methadone
  • morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, for example codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
  • oxazepam
  • Temazepam

If your medication has not been listed, but you have concerns, please check your suitability to drive with your doctor.

Reporting Drug Driving in Lancashire 

If you suspect someone of drug driving, we urge you to do the right thing to keep the driver and other innocent road users safe. You can report suspected drug driving directly to us via our online form by clicking the button below, or via Crimestoppers. Both are 100% anonymous. You can also call 101 to tell us what you know. If the person is about to drive or currently driving, always call 999.

report a drug driver button

Help and Support for Drug Driving

Across Lancashire there are a number of support organisations which can offer help and advice for those struggling with drug misuse. For example, Talk To Frank can offer honest information and advice for both drug users and their family and friends. You can also find out more information about drug support on the NHS website and can find your local support services on the Lancashire County Council website. 

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