Freight industry body warns of drug driving risk

The Freight Transport Association is warning its members of the dangers of prescription drugs which may impair driving ability.

With drug driving prosecutions having reached an all-time high in 2015, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says drivers need to be aware of laws regarding prescription drugs that came into force in March 2015.

Drink driving limits are well known but many drivers may be unaware of changes to the law in England and Wales on medications including diazepam and temazepam. Limits were introduced for eight commonly-prescribed drugs and anyone whose driving is impaired through exceeding the limit can face prosecution.

The penalty for drug driving is the same as for drink driving in England and Wales – an automatic ban of at least a year, a fine and up to six months in prison. Lower alcohol limits were introduced in Scotland in December 2014 so it’s important to be aware of the changes.

One insurance industry report stated that there was a 144% increase in drug driving prosecutions in 2015, while one in eight motorists admitted feeling affected by prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies such as hay fever tablets.

To help fleet drivers stay legal, the FTA has produced an A2 poster and a pocket-sized drivers’ guide outlining the do’s and don’ts of drink and drugs including the Road Traffic Act England and Wales, new Scottish drink driving limits, new drug driving laws and roadside testing, methods and time scales for drug detection and advice on prescription drugs use in the workplace.

The FTA can also supply a range of breathalysers from disposable ones through to professional Home Office-approved kits as used by the police which are accepted as evidence in court and a range of drug testing equipment.

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