In 2015, the drug driving law changed to make it easier for the police to catch and convict drug drivers.
- It is now an offence to drive with any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood – this includes illegal and medical drugs.
- The limits set for each drug are different, and for illegal drugs the limits set are extremely low, but have been set at a level to rule out any accidental exposure (for example, through passive smoking).
- Officers can test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and screen for other drugs, including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at the police station. Even drivers that pass the roadside check can be arrested if the police suspect that your driving is impaired by drugs.
The penalties for drug driving are the same as for drink driving. If you are convicted you could face:
- a minimum 12-month driving ban
- a criminal record
- an unlimited fine
- up to 6 months in prison
- an endorsement on your driving license for 11 years
The maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drugs or drink is life in prison, with a minimum driving ban of five years.
The consequences of a drug drive conviction are far reaching and can include:
- job loss
- loss of independence
- the shame of having a criminal record
- increase in car insurance costs
- trouble getting in to countries like the USA