The number of motorists banned for driving while on drugs is now equal to the number banned for drink driving, according to official figures.
And it's not just drivers under the influence of illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin.
Motorists are being taken off the road for driving on prescription drugs that impair their judgement and reflexes.
So drivers who take certain prescribed drugs aren't caught out - and don't pose a danger to other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians - the government has issued a list of prescribed medications.
There are strict limits as to how much of certain drugs you can have in your system while driving.
And the government recommends you consult you doctor if you are taking any of the following:
- amphetamine, e.g. dexamphetamine or selegiline
- morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, e.g. codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
You can drive after taking these drugs if:
- you’ve been prescribed them and followed advice on how to take them by a healthcare professional
- they aren’t causing you to be unfit to drive even if you’re above the specified limits.
However, these are the limits which you must stay within to avoid a prosecution.
Drug vs limit in blood
The law has a zero tolerance towards driving while under the influence of banned substances and makes provision only for accidental exposure to them with very low limits for drivers.
What penalties are there for driving while above the legal drug driving limits?
- a minimum 1 year driving ban
- an unlimited fine
- up to 6 months in prison
- a criminal record
Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.