'Drug-driving' scrips review

Prescription medicines that affect people's fitness to drive could be included in a new drug-driving offence being considered by the Department for Transport (DfT).

A new law on drug-driving is being proposed, as well as legislation allowing police officers to require a biological sample for analysis from anyone suspected of being unfit to drive because of drugs they have taken.

The DfT is seeking views on whether such an offence should also apply to drugs prescribed or obtained legally.

The DfT is proposing to focus on illegal drugs, but says it will continue to assess whether the use of prescribed medication that could impair driving is effectively managed by health professionals' advice.

Under current law anyone driving when unfit because of drugs they have taken, whether prescribed medicines or illegal drugs, is guilty of an offence and this offence will still be available to courts.

However, a lack of roadside tests for drugs has made enforcement of the law difficult.

Studies have found that one in five drivers involved in fatal accidents have impairing prescription or illegal drugs in their blood.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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