New drug-driving legislation could affect prescription drugs: Learn about the new law and how it affects you

April 1st, 2015
New drug-driving legislation could affect prescription drugs: Learn about the new law and how it affects you

New government legislation relating to drug-driving has come into force. And, while this is welcome news regarding those driving under the influence of illegal drugs, motorists should be aware that legal prescription drugs are also affected by these new laws.

What is the new law?

The new laws set limits on a number of drugs, both illegal and prescription, that a driver can have in his or her blood stream before being deemed over the limit.

What is the current legislation?

Currently the legislation states that drivers have to be proven to be impaired while driving. However, the new law alters this as it is the presence of drugs in the bloodstream that matters, not whether a driver is impaired or not.

How will the law be enforced?

As with the current laws, police will be able to stop drivers who appear to be driving unsafely or abnormally. Police forces nationwide are being issued with new roadside testing kits which have been dubbed ‘drugalysers’ and which are able to check for illegal as well as legal drugs in a person’s system.

What does this mean if I’ve taken a prescription drug?

In most cases it won’t mean a thing. As pointed out on, following the prescribed doses should mean you will be within the new limits. However, if you are worried, then it is recommended to see a pharmacist or your doctor for confirmation of doses.

Who is likely to fall foul of the new legislation?

As previously mentioned, sticking to the prescribed doses of over-the-counter medication should be sufficient to avoid going over the limit. However, in situations where you might have been tempted to take more medication than needed- to get over a heavy cold for instance – it is better to think of the consequences and check the dosage before you do this.

Which medications are affected?

Medication which has the ability to impair the driver’s motor skills or induce drowsiness are the ones which are affected by the new laws.

As Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill has said: “If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law and there is no need to worry.” It appears that it would only be in a number of small circumstances where a person taking prescription or over-the-counter medications would be affected.

However, where drugs and the law is concerned, it is always better to be safe than sorry so motorists should take heed of the new legislation if they feel it would affect them to avoid any unfortunate incidents in the future.

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