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The Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations 2014

Updated: Feb 17

The Drug Driving Regulations were changed in March 2014 and update the law on the use of medical substances whilst driving. If you employ drivers, you need to know what they can and cannot take and our article summarises the Regulations for you.

The Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations 2014 came into force on 2nd March this year and represent an updating of the law to take into account the use by some drivers of particular medical substances.

The regulations make it an offence for a person to drive, attempt to drive, or be in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with specified controlled or prescription drugs in the body.

The specified drugs include both prescription and controlled drugs:

Prescription medicines:

  • flunitrazepam

  • diazepam

  • clonazepam

  • lorazepam

  • oxazepam

  • temazepam

  • morphine

  • methadone

What do these drugs do?

  • Clonazepam is used to treat panic disorders or seizures.

  • Diazepam is prescribed for anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms or muscle spasms

  • Flunitrazepam was originally used in hospitals for deep sedation. It is also known as Rohypnol.

  • Lorazepam is used to treat convulsions or seizures caused by epilepsy

  • Oxazepam is prescribed for the relief of anxiety, including that resulting from alcohol withdrawal

  • Temazepam affects chemical imbalances in the brain that can cause insomnia.

  • Methadone is most commonly employed in the treatment of heroin addiction

  • Morphine or opiates are used to treat moderate to severe pain

Controlled Drugs:

  • Benzoylecgonine

  • Cocaine

  • Methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA-Ecstasy)

  • Heroin and diamorphine

  • Cannabis

  • Methylamphetamine

  • Ketamine

  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)

The limits for these substances as laid down in the regulations are

Controlled Drug Limit (microgrammes per litre of blood) Benzoylecgonine 50 Clonazepam 50

Cocaine 10 Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol 2 Diazepam 550 Flunitrazepam 300 Ketamine 20

Lorazepam 100 Lysergic Acid Diethylamide 500 Methylamphetamine 10

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine 10 6-Monoacetylmorphine 5 Morphine 80 Oxazepam 300 Temazepam 1000

What happens if a driver is tested and is over the specified limit for these drugs?

If an employee is convicted of driving whilst under the influence of any of the drugs listed above, there are several possible penalties:

  • a minimum 1 year driving ban

  • a fine of up to £5,000

  • up to 6 months in prison

  • a criminal record

If somebody is convicted of causing death by dangerous driving whilst under the influence of drugs, the penalty is a prison sentence of up to fourteen years.

How can employers take preventative measures?

Employers should make sure that all employees who drive for work or drive company vehicles are are made aware of the law, what is required of them and what may happen if they are found to have broken the law.

Employers should also check their drug and alcohol policies to make sure that they are up to date and in accordance with the new laws. A programme should be put in place which includes the facility for testing for the drugs which are included in the new regulations.

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