Changes Coming To Prescription Drug DrivingFebruary 19, 2015
One of the biggest dangers out on the roads is ourselves as drivers. We can do any number of things to alter our ability to drive safely and there have been numerous campaigns to raise awareness about these issues. The negligence of drivers gets people killed, with over a thousand people dying each year on the roads in the UK.
Drink driving is one of the biggest offences which there are campaigns for, with the limit under constant scrutiny. But what about the other ways in which you can inhibit your senses? One previously overlooked issue is that of drugs, namely the pharmaceutical kind.
There are already rules in place regarding driving under the influence of drugs, even those of a medicinal nature, but this is the first time specific limits are to be introduced. It is not a blanket zero tolerance policy as some had expected, as it was felt that this was not fair in some circumstances. The risk with zero tolerance was that people would unknowingly have trace amounts of a drug in their system, such as someone who has inhaled a small amount of cannabis smoke.
There are 8 illegal drugs on the list and 8 prescription drugs with limits on how much of each you can have in your system before it becomes illegal to drive.
- Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) – 50 micrograms per litre of blood (µg/L)
- Cocaine – 10µg/L
- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis and cannabinol) – 2µg/L
- Ketamine – 20µg/L
- LSD – 1µg/L
- Methylamphetamine – 10µg/L
- MDMA (ecstasy) – 10µg/L
- Heroin and diamorphine – 5µg/L
- Clonazepam (used to treat seizures and panic disorder) – 50µg/L
- Diazepam (anti-anxiety) – 550µg/L
- Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol – sedative) – 300µg/L
- Lorazepam (anti-anxiety) – 100µg/L
- Methadone (heroin substitute) – 500µg/L
- Morphine (pain relief) – 80µg/L
- Oxazepam (anti-anxiety) – 300µg/L
- Temazepam (antianxiety and sedative) – 1,000µg/L
There is a caveat to these new rules when it comes to medical instruction however. If you are pulled over by the police and they test you for drugs in your system, if you are under instruction to take the medicine then you cannot legally be impaired.
Whilst it might seem harsh that you can be pulled over for having prescription drugs in your system, the limits above are based on figures above what a normal dosage would be. Therefore, unless you take more than you are medically directed to you should have nothing to worry about.
Harsh penalties await those who flaunt this law, with a minimum of one year in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record all intended to make people think twice before driving whilst on drugs.
This is important information for any road users, even if you’re utilising a van hire service – ensure that you are well enough to drive and consider your prescription drugs before getting behind the wheel.
i-Drive Van Hire are based in Nottingham but operate in West Bridgford and the surrounding areas.
(Picture by Tom Varco)