In March last year, new limits were set for a variety of different drug types. Since then the police have reported that there has been a 144% increase in prosecutions.
Although this is higher than expected it’s not a huge shock as that same month police introduced new means to test people for drugs at the roadside by taking saliva samples.
These saliva drug tests can detect drugs that were taken on average in the last 12 hours therefore helping to reveal the likelihood of whether a driver was under the influence of drugs.
There is still a lack of awareness of the new drug-driving law and the associated roadside testing now in force. Despite many articles listing the drugs covered by this law most people take little notice presuming these only refer to illegal substances. This is not the case. A number of prescription medications are also included in the list. Should you be taking any of the prescription medicines listed and are subsequently stopped by police, you will be legally required to produce your prescription if a drug-test revealed that you were taking any of those substances. These include codeine and hay fever tablets.
If you cannot show a prescription or are under the influence of an illegal substance you could be facing a fine of up to £5,000, a driving ban and up to six months in prison.
Motorists are being urged to read the labels and instructions of the medication they take to avoid breaking the law.
You should never exceed the recommended amount or take any medications that were not personally prescribed to you. If you drive for work you should talk to your doctor about the possible side effects and what to look out for.