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What Is The Drug Drive Limit In England And Wales?

What Is The Drug Drive Limit In England And Wales?

As of 2015, new drug driving laws apply in the UK. These changes have led to some confusion as to what is illegal and what isn’t. So, what is the drug drive limit in England and Wales?

Well, it’s important to understand that the new laws cover 17 illegal (and some otherwise legal) drugs. Each drug has its own specific legal limit.

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Here are the details for each of those drugs and the limits you need to be aware of before you drive:

What Are The Drug Driving Laws In The UK?

The drug driving laws that currently apply in England and Wales came into effect back in 2015. These laws were created following a review by a panel of medical experts. The government largely decided to push for the more extreme interpretation of those experts’ recommendations.

This means a zero-tolerance approach to eight of those drugs (the ones that are already illegal) and specific rules for the eight legal drugs mainly used for medical purposes. There is a distinct approach for amphetamines because these are classed as falling into both camps.

What Is The Drug Drive Limit In England And Wales?

The drug drive limit in the UK is different for each of the seventeen different drugs currently listed under one of two categories:

1) ‘Illegal’ Drug Driving Limits

Drug driving laws in England and Wales take an essentially zero-tolerance approach to illegal drugs. However, there is enough of a cushion to theoretically rule out the possibility of accidental exposure (though this is contested by some in the case of cannabis).

The drug driving limits for illegal substances (that it is also illegal to drive with in your system) below are listed in microgrammes per litre of blood (µg/L):

  • Benzoylecgonine (the main ingredient in cocaine) – 50 µg/L
  • Cocaine – 10µg/L
  • Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis and cannabinol) – 2µg/L
  • Ketamine – 20µg/L
  • LySergic acid Diethylamide (LSD) – 1µg/L
  • Methylamphetamine – 10µg/L
  • MethyleneDioxyMethAmphetamine (MDMA/ ecstasy) – 10µg/L
  • 6-monoacetylmorphine (one of the three main ingredients in heroin) – 5µg/L

2) Prescription Drug Driving Limits

When it comes to prescription medications, the legal drug driving limit for each is set theoretically above the normal dose you would be taking if you were prescribed the drug.

If you are prescribed any of the following medications it is vital that you consult your doctor as to the limits and the risks of driving when you are under the influence of them. When driving, you should also keep your prescription documentation handy in case you are pulled over by the police.

The prescription drugs listed in the law as those that will impair your ability to drive if taken above certain set amounts are:

  • Clonazepam (used to treat panic disorders) – 50µg/L
  • Diazepam (also called Valium, used to treat anxiety, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal) – 550µg/L
  • Flunitrazepam (also known as the “date-rape drug” Rohypnol, in its actual medical purpose used to treat insomnia ) – 300µg/L
  • Lorazepam (used to treat anxiety and sleeping problems) – 100µg/L
  • Methadone (used to help people suffering from heroin dependence or chronic pain) – 500µg/L
  • Morphine (used for chronic pain relief) – 80µg/L
  • Oxazepam (used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal) – 300µg/L
  • Temazepam (used to treat insomnia) – 1000µg/L
  • Amphetamines (used to treat conditions such as ADHD) – 250µg/L

What If I Have A High Tolerance?

As far as the law is concerned, your tolerance – or otherwise – to a certain drug has no bearing on whether or not you are guilty of drug driving. It only matters how much of any of those specific drugs you have in your bloodstream.

The size of your dose relative to the threshold level also has little bearing on whether you are guilty of drug driving or not. Many factors could have a role to play in how much of the dosage you take reaches your bloodstream or how long it will stay there. This includes:

  • Your diet
  • How much water you have drunk
  • How much exercise you do
  • Whether you are male or female
  • Your physical make-up

Have You Been Arrested For Drug Driving?

In general, if you are in any doubt at all, it is always worth playing it safe and not driving if you have taken any of the drugs listed above.

If it is already too late and you have been arrested for drug driving, you need expert legal advice right away. Why not get it from specialist drug driving solicitors who have helped 95% of past clients avoid or mitigate driving bans?

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