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Driving and Drugs

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

The Crime and Courts Act 2013 (Commencement No 1) (England and Wales) Order 2014 came into force on 2 March 2015 and sets limits for ‘drug driving’ similar in operation to those used for drink driving.

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle when unfit to do so through use of drink or drugs. It is now an offence for a person to drive if ‘he has in his body a specified controlled drug and the proportion of it in his blood or urine at that time exceeds the specified limit for that drug…’.

The first important point to note for anyone subject to a roadside test for drug use is that the tests used are not probative and a conviction cannot be upheld using such tests in the absence of a urine or blood test.

One reason why such legislation has been so long in coming is that the amount of time that different drugs remain in blood or urine varies substantially. THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, remains in the blood long after any effect of the drug can be perceived.

For employers who do not already have a suitable drug use policy, it is sensible to consider reviewing the policy to take the new regulations into account.

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