Road Safety News

Government announces drug drive limits

Thursday 27th March 2014

The Government has announced that its ambition to create a new drug drive limit has moved a step closer following the results of two public consultations.

The recommended limits for 16 different drugs - eight prescription and eight illicit drugs - have now been approved and will be added into new regulations that will come in to force in autumn 2014.

The new rules will mean it will be an offence to be over the generally prescribed limits for each drug while driving, as it is with drink driving.

Robert Goodwill, road safety minister, said: “The result of the consultation is sending the strongest possible message that you cannot take illegal drugs and drive.

“This new offence will make our roads safer for everyone by making it easier for the police to tackle those who drive after taking illegal drugs. It will also clarify the limits for those who take medication.

“The next step is to take these limits to Parliament to see the offence come into force later this year.”

In March 2013, the DfT took expert advice from a medical panel on the potential drug limits that the Government should consult on. The DfT accepted most of the recommendations made by the panel and has consulted on limits that represent a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to deter people from taking drugs and driving.

The limits to be included in the new regulations are not set at zero, as drugs taken for medical conditions can be absorbed in the body to produce trace effects. In addition, different drugs are broken down at different speeds and that is reflected in the disparities between the limits.

The Government is now working closely with the medical profession to ensure healthcare professionals and patients are informed about the new drug driving offence. Later in the year there will also be a communications campaign to make drivers aware of the changes to the law.

Click here to read the full DfT news release.


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The old adage of 'be careful of what you wish for' has never been more appropriate in the matter of so called drug driving. Many will risk their personal health, rather than be caught-out. For just like drink driving, how will you know you are still over the legal limit? Perhaps by not taking these prescription drugs, you may become even more dangerous to other road users, by being less control of your faculties? Many perfectly safe drivers will be caught out by this legislation, especially as more drugs will be added to the list. Anybody that is interested in motoring issues could see where the previous decade of bombarding us with drug-driving rants was going to lead too and this has now been confirmed.
Terry Hudson, Kent

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Generally prescription drugs
Clonazepam, 50 µg/L
Diazepam, 550 µg/L
Flunitrazepam, 300 µg/L
Lorazepam, 100 µg/L
Methadone, 500 µg/L
Morphine, 80 µg/L
Oxazepam, 300 µg/L
Temazepam, 1000 µg/L
Don Again

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If you follow the link at the foot of the story to the full DfT news release it lists all of the drugs.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

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Which eight prescription drugs?
Don - Bexhill

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