Drug Driving – Know the Score

Nobody gets caught for driving on drugs, do they?  Even if I was caught, it’s not the same as drink driving anyway… 

I wonder how many people have this attitude when it comes to driving under the influence of drugs?

Before we go further I would like to make one thing clear.  This is not an anti-drugs post.  It is not for me to tell people whether it is right or wrong to do drugs.  This is about reflecting on your own driving habits and thinking about the safety of other people and your self on the roads.  It’s about responsibility.


So let’s look at some facts about the subject.  Did you know….

    • You will be breaking the law if you drive, or attempt to drive, with any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood.  This includes legal drugs as well as illegal drugs.  The limits set for each drug are different and for illegal drugs this limit is set very low.
    • The police can ask you to do a ‘field impairment assessment’ at the roadside if they suspect you are on drugs while driving.  This is a series of tests, for example getting you to walk steadily in a straight line.  Or balancing on one leg.  They may also check your pupils closely and will have been trained to recognise the signs of various drugs on the pupils.
    • Police can also use a drug kit to test you at the roadside for cocaine or cannabis.  Other drugs such as LSD and ketamine can be tested at the police station, so if they suspect anything then you will be arrested and taken for tests.
    • Cocaine can be detected in your system up to 4 days after taking it.  Cannabis can be detected up to 2 months after taking it.
    • All of the above applies on your driving lessons as well!

      What are the penalties if convicted of drug driving?

  • Minimum 1 year driving ban
  • Unlimited fine
  • Up to 6 months prison sentence
  • Criminal record
  • Endorsement on your driving license for 11 years
  • The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years

    What are the consequences?

  • You could lose your job and may also struggle to gain new employment
  • Car insurance costs will increase dramatically
  • With a criminal record you may not be allowed to enter certain countries abroad, such as the USA
  • Loss of independence
  • The shame of people knowing you have a criminal record.

    Bear in mind here we are mainly looking at the penalties to you, as a driver.  As an individual.  We haven’t even mentioned the consequences to other people you may affect.Perhaps sometimes this side of things is overlooked in driving lessons, or in the case of someone learning to drive with parents.  Maybe there is an assumption that people will just know?

    When driving under the influence of drink or drugs, your ability to drive will be hindered in a lot of ways, probably without you realising it at the time and this will certainly increase the chances of you being involved in a collision.  Can you imagine how that would feel after it has happened, especially if you injured another person?  Or worse still….