Drug Driving Laws

legal updates

The legislation now contains sixteen specified drugs - eight illegal and eight medicinal.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

New drug driving laws came into effect on the 2nd March 2016.  They only apply to England and Wales and not to Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

The Road Traffic Act 1988 has been amended to include an offence of driving, attempting to drive or being in charge of a motor vehicle when under the influence of a specified controlled drug exceeding the maximum legal limit for that particular drug.

The legislation now contains sixteen specified drugs – eight illegal and eight medicinal.  This article ONLY deals with the medicinal drugs.

If you have been prescribed any of the following drugs you can still drive even if over the limit, provided your driving is not impaired.  If in doubt you should contact your own doctor.

•    amphetamine, eg dexamphetamine or selegiline
•    clonazepam
•    diazepam
•    flunitrazepam
•    lorazepam
•    methadone
•    morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, eg codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
•    oxazepam
•    temazepam

The most worrying feature of these new provisions partly relates to Codeine based drugs that may be purchased over the counter.  Codeine reacts with an enzyme in the liver and converts it to morphine.  Whilst this alone may not be enough to take you over the limit, a cocktail of those with other prescribed drugs might.  As the morphine produced varies with the dosage taken and the body’s own metabolism you should seek advice from your doctor if in doubt.

Whilst there is a defence to the new law where the drugs are legal and being taken for medicinal reasons the same may not apply to your insurance which may be invalidated.

BUT…….. do you really want to risk it?  Check your medication with your doctor or pharmacist if in any doubt at all.


Need help with keeping on track with FCA Regulation and Compliance? Partner with Automotive Compliance

David CombesIn remembrance of David Combes 1948 – 2020Read More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!!

Should you receive a PCN, you must contact the DVLA with all the evidence you have so they can change the registered keeper on their database.

Advise the DVLA of any change of vehicle colour

Any change that makes a vehicle a predominantly different colour must be reported.

Divorcing couples and their cars

The vast majority of cases are not theft. They are civil disputes and for this reason we would initially recommend speaking to a solicitor or Citizens Advice.

Driving a vehicle under the Driving Other Cars extension on your insurance policy

Always make sure that you have the appropriate cover on any vehicle that you or your business use as it could be much more costly than you think.

DVLA prevent registration of new motorhomes

Current DVLA guidance states no paper applications for registration should be sent to it until further notice.

COVID-19: Required documentation for test drives

We suggest looking at our Test Drive Agreements which can be used alongside driving licence checks.

COVID-19: Road user charging schemes temporarily suspended

For some critical workers, in the current circumstances, driving to work will be the simplest option, which is why the charges have been lifted.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.