Drivers who take certain prescription medications may find themselves falling foul of new drug driving laws, road safety minister Robert Goodwill has warned.
The new law, which is due to be introduced across England and Wales on March 2, is aimed at clamping down on those who choose to drive while under the influence of drugs.
New roadside testing kits, dubbed ‘drugalysers’, are to be rolled out to roads policing divisions nationwide. As well as being able to detect low levels of eight prohibited drugs, including cocaine and cannabis, the kits can also detect eight different prescription drugs, including opiate-based medication and anti-anxiety drugs such as Diazepam.
The legal limit for prescription medication has been set higher than the extremely low threshold applied to illegal drugs, with Mr Goodwill saying that as long as people take medication as prescribed, they should be ok to get behind the wheel.
"If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law and there is no need to worry," he told the BBC.
"We advise anyone who is unsure about the effects of their medication or how the new legislation may affect them to seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacist.
"There will also be a medical defence if a driver has been taking medication as directed and is found to be over the limit but not impaired.
"Drivers who are taking prescribed medication at high doses [are advised] to carry evidence with them, such as prescriptions slips, when driving, in order to minimise any inconvenience should they be asked to take a test by the police."
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