In the UK, it’s unlawful to drive under the influence of legal or illegal drugs or with drugs above a certain level of concentration in your blood. It also doesn’t matter if the drugs haven’t affected your driving. Thu, to ensure that the drug driving law in properly enforced, the police are equipped with roadside drug testing gadgets, which make it easier to detect drug drivers.
Who Can Be Tested
Any driver (commercial or private) who was suspected by the police can be pulled over and tested. So far, statistics show that 56% of suspects pulled over by the police in the UK registered positive to roadside drug tests.
Drugs Tested For
Currently there are seventeen prescription and illegal drugs for which suspected drivers in the UK are tested. They are:
|‘Illegal’ drugs||Threshold limit in Blood—Microgrammes per litre of blood (µg/L)|
|lysergic acid diethylamide
|‘Medicinal’ drugs||Threshold limit in blood
Under What Circumstances Will One Be Tested
The UK police reserves the authority to test and then arrest any driver they suspect may be guilty of drug driving. Hence, you will be tested if:
- You are involved in an accident, no matter how severe.
- You are driving dangerously: over-speeding or careless overtaking, for instance.
- Apply for a driver’s licence.
- Or any other reason, suspect that you are drug driving.
There are other circumstances that can warrant your being tested for drug driving. For example, employers typically require that prospective employees (drivers) undergo a drug test. In fact, employers may even carry out additional drug tests.
Penalties for Drug Driving in the UK
The consequences of drug driving in the UK mirror those of drink driving. Should you test positive to a drug driving test, you will get:
- A criminal record
- Up to six-months imprisonment
- An unlimited fine.
- At least a one-year driving ban.
Also, your driver’s licence, for eleven years, will reflect that you have been convicted for drug driving. And if under the influence of drugs and you cause death by dangerous driving, your penalty will be a prison sentence of up to 14 years. As well as carrying the guilt of causing the death (leaving family to plan their funeral) of an innocent bystander.
Again, a conviction for drug driving can also:
- Significantly increase your car insurance.
- Lead to you losing your job.
- Affect your chances of getting into countries like the USA
Advice for Drivers
As a driver in the UK, you obviously don’t want to get convicted for drug driving. Therefore, desist from using illegal drugs and adhere to your doctor or healthcare professional’s instructions on taking any medical drugs. To avoid being arrested when correctly taking prescription medicine, always keep evidence of your doctor’s instructions with you while driving, as under that circumstance, you are protected by the drug driving law.
Apart from the drug driving law, drug abuse or addiction is not good for your health. It doesn’t only endanger your life both while driving but otherwise. It also endangers the life of everyone around you. So reject drug abuse and drive carefully.