Today March 2nd 2015 throughout England and Wales sees the launch of the long awaited new regulations, putting a stop to people driving whilst under the influence of drugs.

For the first time, Police forces will be able to stop your vehicle and test you for drugs.   They will be using a kit to screen eight illegal and prescribed drugs including cannabis, cocaine and by using a ‘drugalyser’ results will be instant.  The whole process is simple, convenient and takes around 10 minutes.

The prescribed drugs are:  Clonazepam   Diazepam   Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)   Lorazepam   Oxazepam   Temazepam   Methadone  and  Morphine

The difference between all the drugs being tested is the measureable levels.  The illegal drugs will have low levels set, whilst the prescribed drugs will have a higher level set and should you be a person who is ‘prescribed’ any of the above drugs, a friendly advice would be to keep a copy of your prescription to hand to save any possible or potential issues.

You should also be aware that in addition to the drugs already mentioned, officers can still test you for a variety of drugs including LSD, Ketamine, Heroin at a police station, even if you pass the roadside check but they feel you are deemed impaired to drive.

Motorists will face prosecution if the limits are exceeded for any of the drugs and the new rules do run alongside the current law, whereby it is an offence to drive when impaired by any drug (includes alcohol).  For those using the prescription drugs, as long as you are within the recommended limits you will not be penalised.

The existing penalties mean drug drivers already face a fine up to £5,000, up to six months in prison and a minimum one-year driving ban.  Remember that the consequences of a drug drive conviction can have more than just the ban and fine effect and can cause more catastrophic consequences, for example:

  • Job loss
  • Loss of independence
  • The shame of having a criminal record
  • Increase in car insurance costs
  • Trouble getting in to countries like the USA

Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said: “This new law will save lives.  “We know driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous; it devastates families and ruins lives.

“The government’s message is clear – if you take drugs and drive, you are endangering yourself and others and you risk losing your licence and a conviction.”