The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Roll Away the Stoned - Drug Driving Rules (including medicinal) Explained

31 October 2014 | Updated 01 January 1970

Fleet managers, transport, road and healthcare professionals were issued with drug driving guidance in July of this year. Here, Rod Hunt, our legal expert, looks back at what has been proposed.

On 3 July 2014 the Government issued new guidance in a bid to crack down on the menace of drug driving. So why has the Government taken this step?

The new offence of driving with certain controlled drugs, including some prescription drugs, above specified limits is due to come into force on 2 March 2015.

If a driver tests positive they will be taken to a Police Station where a further evidential test will be taken. If this is positive it will allow Police to arrest and charge a driver for being over the limit.


Isn’t it already an offence to drive whilst intoxicated through drugs?

Yes, although the new rules will mean it will be an offence to be over the specified limits for each drug whilst driving. The limits for the vast majority of medicinal drugs are above the normal doses. Unlike the existing ‘impairment’ offence, the new law will provide a medical defence for patients who are taking their medicine in accordance with instructions, either from a healthcare professional or printed in the accompanying leaflet, provided they are not impaired.


So what is the purpose of the guidance?

The guidance helps those who need to explain - particularly doctors and nurses - the new rules in advance of the new offence coming in to reassure those patients who take prescription drugs that they will be able to drive safely without fear of being prosecuted.


What does the guidance say?

The guidance advises healthcare professionals on changes to the drug driving offence and what it means for patients.

The guidance also advises patients who take legitimately supplied medicines to keep evidence with them in case they are stopped by the Police. This will help speed up any investigation into the medical defence and reduce the inconvenience to the patient.


What are the benefits to this change?

The changes will remove the right for drivers who fail a roadside breath test to demand a blood or urine sample at the Police Station. This test can take place several hours later, which means some drivers who were over the limit when tested at the roadside could have time to sober up. Removing the option for this test will save Police Forces an estimated £13 million over 10 years and allow breath tests to be used as evidence.

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The new drug driving law will make it easier for the Police to tackle those who drive after taking illegal drugs or abuse medicinal drugs whether they are on prescription or available over the counter. This new offence will be introduced alongside major changes to drink-drive laws. Taken together, these will give Police the tools they need to prosecute those who risk the lives of others through dangerous behaviour and make our roads safer.”



Patients taking prescription drugs should follow the guidance issued from both their doctor and the drug manufacturers to ensure that they don’t fall foul of the new law.


Rod Hunt


T: +44 (0)161 240 1610


Clyde & Co

Chancery Place

50 Brown Street

Manchester M2 2JT

T: +44 (0)161 829 6400

F: +44 (0)161 829 6401

Further advice should be taken before relying on the contents of this summary.

Article written by Rod Hunt | Published 31 October 2014


Related Articles

Parking Grinches Set To Steal Christmas

English councils and their evil contractor cohorts made a record £819 million from parking operations in the last financial year. This is 40% higher than the...

 Read Full Article
50 Years On From Drink Drive Tests, Life Sentences To Be Set For Killer Drivers

Life sentences will be introduced for those who cause death by dangerous driving and for careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs and a new...

 Read Full Article
TfL Plans PCN Cash Dash

Transport for London is to 'consult' on its plans to increase Penalty Charge Notices for offences on TfL roads and non-payment of the Congestion Charge. The...

 Read Full Article
Air Action Due - Diesel and Petrol Banned?

  The government, in the form of Environment Minister Michael Gove, confirmed on Wednesday 26 that it will end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel...

 Read Full Article
Toll Crash Fraudster Jailed. M40 Deaths Driver Released

A man who caused a crash and then blamed it on the other driver and then tried to claim for damages and a personal injury has been jailed for six months. Following an...

 Read Full Article
Drivers Dont Declare Penalty Points

Nearly a quarter (23%) of motorists did not inform their insurer the last time they received penalty points on their licence, according to research carried  out by...

 Read Full Article
Cold Case Catches-up With Callous Driver

A 41-year-old motorist, who was convicted in 2003 for dangerous driving which resulted in a woman receiving life changing injuries, has been jailed at Stoke Crown Court...

 Read Full Article
Woman Jailed for Causing Death Whilst Facebooking & Driving

A woman who killed one person and seriously injured another having collided with two stationary vehicles while sending a Facebook message has been sentenced to two years...

 Read Full Article
Phishing, Crashing and Nicking - a Security Digest

The City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is urging university staff to take preventative action following more than 100 reports from...

 Read Full Article
Warning Signs Out for Killer Drivers

36 police forces took part in the campaign in November stopping 10,012 vehicles and detecting nearly 8,000 mobile phone offences, the highest ever total for a week of...

 Read Full Article