Drivers warned over every-day medicines that could see them fined £1,000

AS the winter draws in and we all suffer from sniffs, sneezes and other ailments, drivers are being warned to check medication they are taking before getting behind the wheel.

The RAC is urging people to check whether they are able to drive after being prescribed any of a number of medicines for treating conditions as mundane as the common cold.

Many legal medicines and widely-used painkillers could impair your driving, the RAC said, 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, the driving group warned.

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.

Among the drugs highlighted is codeine, which is found in painkillers like Nurofen Plus and 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.

The government says drivers should ask their doctor whether they should drive if prescribed any of the following:
amphetamine, for example dexamphetamine or selegiline
morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, for example codeine, tramadol or fentanyl

Drivers who are convicted of drug driving can also face further problems, the RAC said, such as a rise in insurance premiums, and difficulties being able to enter some countries.

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

However, you can drive if 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, the RAC said.

But 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.

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.