It’s your legal duty to ensure you’re fit to drive


Lots of drugs can affect your ability to drive safely including some over-the-counter medicines (like cough and hay-fever medicines) and many prescribed drugs. Always read the information leaflets that come with medicines carefully or ask a pharmacist or your doctor for advice.

Read on to find out how drugs affect driving and the consequences of getting caught.


The effects of drug driving

Driving under the influence of drugs can seriously affect your driving and increase the danger of having an accident. The effects of driving under the influence of drugs include:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Lack of coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Overconfidence
  • Loss of concentration
  • Increased risk-taking behaviour
  • Inappropriate driving
  • Not being able to judge distances and speeds properly


Drug driving and the law

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle whilst impaired through the use of drugs.

Causing death by dangerous driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs will result in a maximum 14-year jail sentence and a minimum 2-year driving ban.


Consequences of drink or drug-driving

The amount of drinks or drugs you have taken makes no difference. Whether you’re just over the limit or well over the limit, in the eyes of the law you are still a convicted drunk-driver or drug-driver and the consequences are exactly the same. If you’re caught drunk-driving over the limit the ‘next morning’, you face the same consequences as if you had been caught the night before.

Driving, or attempting to drive, while over the limit or while under the influence of drugs will result in:

  • Loss of your licence with an automatic 12-month driving ban
  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • A criminal record for a minimum of 20 years
  • An offence which stays on your licence for 11 years
  • Possibly losing your vehicle

Police Scotland has officers in every area of the country who are trained to detect drug-drivers. If a police officer suspects a driver is under the influence, they can take them to a police station where a doctor will take a blood sample for testing.