Driving limits for prescription drugs and alcohol

To make sure that our roads are safe, there are not only drink driving limits in place within our country, but now new regulations exist regarding drug driving limits.

Drug-driving limits

From the 2nd March this year, new limits are to be put in place for drug-driving and the acceptable levels of substance permitted for drivers. These limits are specified with regards to 16 drugs, eight of which are prescription drugs, and will be similar to those limits that have been set out for drink-driving.

It was decided that a zero limit would not work as, according to the Government, some medicinal drugs are absorbed into our systems and would produce trace effects in an instance of testing. This was deemed unfair, as was the possibility of penalising drivers who have been subject to accidental exposure for drugs, such as the inhalation of cannabis in public areas. The limits for both illegal and legal drugs as laid out by the government body are as follows:

Illegal Drugs

  • Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) – 50 mg per litre of blood (µg/L)
  • Cocaine – 10µg/L
  • Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis and cannabinol) – 2µg/L
  • Ketamine – 20µg/L
  • LSD – 1µg/L
  • Methylamphetamine – 10µg/L
  • MDMA (ecstasy) – 10µg/L
  • Heroin and diamorphine – 5µg/L

Prescription Drugs

prescription pills
  • Clonazepam (used to treat seizures and panic disorder) – 50µg/L
  • Diazepam (anti-anxiety) – 550µg/L
  • Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol – sedative) – 300µg/L
  • Lorazepam (anti-anxiety) – 100µg/L
  • Methadone (heroin substitute) – 500µg/L
  • Morphine (pain relief) – 80µg/L
  • Oxazepam (anti-anxiety) – 300µg/L
  • Temazepam (anti-anxiety and sedative) – 1,000µg/L

Drug-driving convictions will result in a one-year driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record; all serious deterrents for anyone who may at present be reckless with their drug-driving responsibility. Not only this, but insurers are likely to turn down customers with drug-driving on their records, or at the very least charge an extortionate amount to insure the driver in question.

Drink-driving limits

beer bottles

Since the new drug-driving limits have been brought to the public’s attention, it is worth refreshing our memories about drink-driving limits. Often a misleading subject to approach, the difficulty with driving after a drink is that everyone reacts differently to alcohol, so where one drink may still bring a driver in under the legal drink-driving limit, the same drink may push another drive into unsafe territory, taking them over the safe and acceptable limit. For this reason, it is always safest to avoid drinking altogether when you know you are going to be driving.

The factors that can alter how alcohol affects you individually include:

  • your weight, age, sex and metabolism
  • the type and amount of alcohol you’ve been drinking
  • what you have eaten
  • your stress levels and general health

The acceptable limits for drivers in the UK, excluding Scotland which has lower rates, are as follows:

  • Micrograms of alcohol per 100ml breath – 35 (22 in Scotland)
  • Milligrammes of alcohol per 100ml blood – 80 (50 in Scotland)
  • Milligrammes of alcohol per 100ml urine – 107 (67 in Scotland)

The consequences of drink-driving depend on the severity of the actions taken whilst drink-driving. From 3 months’ possible imprisonment for anyone in charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol, right up to 14 years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine for anyone who causes death by careless driving whilst under the influence, the penalties are severe and unfaltering. For more information on the exact penalties, visit the government body’s website.

Here at The Insurance Store, we are proud to provide a high quality insurance service including fully comprehensive car insurance to customers throughout the St Albans and Harpenden areas. With knowledgeable and friendly customer service, we can help you with any enquiries you may have, so get in touch with our team of experts today.