25,000 Drug Drivers Caught in 3 Years

25,000 drug drivers caught in 3 years

New figures have revealed that almost 25,000 motorists across England and Wales have tested positive for drug driving. Data from 40 police forces collected between March 2015 – January 2018 revealed that 8,336 drivers tested positive for cannabis and 3,064 for cocaine.

Current Legislation
Current drug-drive legislation was enforced in March 2015 and introduced legal driving limits for prescription drugs and traces of 8 illegal drugs. The different drugs covered in the legislation are listed below:

Illegal’ drugs (‘accidental exposure’ – zero tolerance approach) Threshold limit in microgrammes per litre of blood (µg/L)
benzoylecgonine 50µg/L
cocaine 10µg/L
delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) 2µg/L
ketamine 20µg/L
lysergic acid diethylamide 1µg/L
methylamphetamine 10µg/L
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) 10µg/L
6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin) 5µg/L


‘Medicinal’ drugs (risk based approach) Threshold limit in blood
clonazepam 50µg/L
diazepam 550µg/L
flunitrazepam 300µg/L
lorazepam 100µg/L
methadone 500µg/L
morphine 80µg/L
oxazepam 300µg/L
temazepam 1,000µg/L


Separate approach (to balance its risk) Threshold limit in blood
amphetamine 250µg/L


The current law enables Police to conduct field impairment tests at roadside if they suspect someone of driving under the influence. A suspected user can then be arrested and brought to a police station for a blood test to be carried out.

Police are also equipped with a roadside drug test kit that screens for cannabis and cocaine. Road safety campaigners are concerned however that this isn’t enough.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said:

“At present, only devices which can screen for cannabis and cocaine usage are in use, limiting the police’s ability to detect drug-driving at the roadside.

“The government must prioritise the approval of roadside screening devices that can detect all banned drugs and step up road policing levels to deter offending.”

Latest Figures
According to figures obtained by the BBC, an average of 43% of drug-drive tests are positive. The table below outlines total tests conducted by 10 forces across England and Wales and how many of the tests returned positive results:

Drug drive test results

With increased testing and the inevitable development of roadside drug testing kits safety on the roads should increase. On this topic a spokesman from the Department of Transport said:

“Drug-driving is completely unacceptable. It puts lives at risk and we are determined to crack down on any road users who break the law by driving under the influence.

“Thanks to the tougher laws we have introduced, police are catching and convicting more dangerous drivers.”

About Randox Testing Services

Randox Testing Services is a market leader in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Our expertise is relied upon by a range of leading safety-critical companies across the world.

We pride ourselves on helping our customers improve the health and safety of their working environment through helping them implement a comprehensive substance misuse policy. As experts in our field we ensure that we are aware of current drug trends and legislation.

We use this expertise to craft customised packages to meet the testing needs of any workplace. Our drug and alcohol testing methods are flexible to adapt to any changes and our testing processes are accurate, to guarantee reliable results.

Contact us today be at testingservices@randox.com or call 028 9445 1011 to speak to one of our experts.