These everyday medicines could get you fined or banned from driving

These everyday medicines could get you fined or banned from driving
With the winter season upon us, it brings with it the usual unwelcome rise in coughs, sneezes and sniffles for a nation of road users.

Medicated motorists beware. Many legal medicines and widely-used painkillers could impair your driving – and it’s an offence in England, Scotland, and Wales to drive with specified limits of certain drugs in your blood.

Drivers convicted for drug-driving face a minimum one-year ban and a criminal record – so it pays to be vigilant when using even common prescription drugs.

You can also receive an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, and your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving for the next 11 years.

The maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving under the influence of drugs is life imprisonment.

Codeine, for example, which is found in painkillers like Nurofen Plus is used to treat the symptoms of the common cold, and can cause drowsiness in users.

The active ingredient is also found in Migraleve, Syndol and Boots branded tablets. It can lead to dizziness and may even cause changes to your hearing which could lead to confusion behind the wheel if you're not used to it.

According to the government, you should ask your doctor whether you should drive if you’ve been prescribed any of the following:

  • amphetamine, for example dexamphetamine or selegiline
  • clonazepam
  • diazepam
  • flunitrazepam
  • lorazepam
  • methadone
  • morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, for example codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
  • oxazepam
  • temazepam

If police suspect a motorist of driving under the influence of drugs they can carry out a ‘field impairment assessment’ – a series of tests that could see you asked to walk in a straight line, for example.

DrugWipes – dubbed “drugalysers” – which use a mouth swab to screen for cannabis and cocaine, can also be used.

Drivers who are convicted of drug driving can also face further problems. Offenders will likely see their insurance premiums increase, and you will face difficulties being able to enter some countries.

If you drive for your career, then your employer will see your conviction details.

However, if you are using prescription drugs under very specific scenarios.

You can drive if you’ve been prescribed them and followed advice on how to take them by a healthcare professional. Also, you can only get behind the wheel if the drugs are not causing you to be unfit to drive even if you’re above the specified limits.

Failing to inform the DVLA of a medical condition and a prescription that can affect your driving can see you fined as much as £1,000.

Were you aware of the impact prescription drugs can have on your driving? What can be done to help the situation? Leave your comments below.

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