Drug Driving Limits UK & Ireland

Drug Driving Limits UK & Ireland

On 2nd March 2015 it became an offence in the UK to drive with drugs in your system above specified limits. The section 5A Road Traffic Act requires only the presence of drugs above the specified limit to provoke criminal proceedings against the driver. Under this Act it is not necessary to prove that there was anything wrong with the person’s driving, just the presence of the drug above the specified limit. Drug driving limits are deemed to be zero tolerance, but they have been set with reference to scientific guidance to allow for accidental consumption such as passive smoking of cannabis.

When pulled over by police a field impairment assessment is conducted which includes tasks designed to test alertness and coordination. This includes tasks such as walking in a straight line, standing on one leg and touching your finger to your nose with your eyes closed.

Across England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland roadside swab tests are also conducted to check for traces of drugs. These tests provide a positive or negative reading but do not show the quantitative data. If police feel the driver is unfit to drive after conducting a field impairment assessment, or if traces of drugs are found in the roadside test the driver is arrested and will have a blood test taken at a police station.

The Scottish Government confirmed drug-driving limits and roadside testing will be introduced in Scotland in 2019. Currently in Scotland it is illegal to drive if impaired by drugs and when police suspect a motorist of drug-driving, they carry out a field impairment test.

If the individual fails this they can be arrested and taken for a doctor’s examination to see if the person is impaired to the extent that they are unfit to drive. Then a blood sample is taken to prove if these drugs are in their system.

In the first year after 2015 when forces in England and Wales introduced roadside testing nearly 8000 people were arrested for drug-driving and a blood sample taken.

The drug drive limits can be seen below:

*Values are amount of substance per 1 litre of blood


About Randox Testing Services

Driving whilst under the influence of any substance is extremely dangerous and places drivers and other road users at serious risk. Extremely low limits are in place to ensure drivers do not attempt to take any drugs and drive.

At Randox Testing Services we work with a range of companies to help implement effective workplace drug and alcohol testing policies. If your employees drive it is very important that they are educated on these limits and the dangers of drug driving. For more information on training and education courses please contact testingservices@randox.com.