Drug Driving

If you know someone who drug drives, please report them to us by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Have a read of this web page, then try our drug driving quiz.

Did you know?

On 2 March 2015, the law changed regarding drug driving. 

Drug driving now carries the same penalties as drink driving. 

Drug driving has always been illegal under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988, driving whilst unfit through drink or drug. But it is now an offence under Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988, driving while over the prescribed limit (OPL), as with drink driving.

Replay our online Q&A, in which PC Stephen Stott answered your questions about drug driving. 


What are the dangers of drug driving?

Joanne Wehrle, Safer Roads Partnership Education Manager, said: “Driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous and can affect driving skills in a number of ways; your reaction time may be slower, your vision can be distorted and your concentration may lapse.

“The Safer Roads Partnership is trying to educate people that driving when you are unfit to do so because of any type of drug in your system puts you, your passengers and other road users at greater risk

"If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medicines and you are not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

“As part of the change in legislation, all our young driver safety interventions which are delivered in schools and colleges now include information about the changes and the dangers of driving while under the influence.

“We are determined to make South Yorkshire roads safer and protect drivers in our county from the irresponsible and thoughtless actions of others.”


How do we measure drug driving?

Roadside drugs kits are now used by officers if they suspect a driver may have drugs in their system, alongside field impairment tests that have always been used when a driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The tests work by taking a sample of saliva that is chemically analysed by the device. Watch PC Steve Stott explain and demonstrate how the test works below.

The kits highlight within minutes if a driver has either class A drug cocaine or class B drug cannabis in their system, resulting in the driver being arrested and taken into custody where a blood sample is taken and sent away to the lab to determine the actual amounts of the drug present.

There are legal and illegal drugs that are included under the new law and limits have been set by the Government for both. If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medicines and you are not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

Please see below tables of drugs and limits, which have been taken from the GOV.UK website.


What are the consequences?

Drug driving now carries exactly the same penalties and consequences of drink driving.

You could be:

- Banned from driving for a minimum of a year

- Given a criminal record

- Handed a fine of up to £5,000, or

- Sentenced to up to six months in prison, or

- Handed both a fine and a prison sentence

Watch our advert, which aired on Sky TV, below:

From 2 March 2015 to 6 September 2015:

- The force conducted 328 roadside drug tests

- SYP officers made 184 arrests for drug driving

- Our force made the first arrest for drug driving, six hours into the new legislation

- The first conviction in South Yorkshire was at Sheffield Magistrates' Court, on May 12


For more information:

Visit the Department for Transport's Think! Drug Driving page.

Follow @syptweet on Twitter and the #DrugDriving hashtag.

Follow @SYPOperations on Twitter and the #SYPRoadPolice hashtag.

Like South Yorkshire Police on Facebook.

Follow SouthYorkshirePolice on Instagram and the #DrugDriving hashtag.



South Yorkshire Police does not endorse the views of any third party.