Patients that have a genuine need and prescription for any legal medication that they are taking should not fall foul of new drug driving laws that are to be introduced at the beginning of next month, but a government official has said that if they are concerned then they should speak to their pharmacist. He also said that a medical defence would be possible for those motorists that end up in court, ensuring that people acting on a doctor’s advice would not receive punishment as long as their driving was not negatively affected by the drugs they were taking.
Carrying a prescription or other form of documentation from a doctor or healthcare specialist could help clear up any confusion for those that are found to be over the limit on drugs like Temazepan or Methodone, according to experts. The limit for prescription drugs has been set deliberately higher than the strict low limit of narcotics like cannabis and cocaine, which are also included in the new laws, and this is meant as another means of ensuring that people taking prescription medicines should not have to fear driving and should not be affected in such a way that would prevent them from wanting to get behind the wheel of a car.
Eight well known illegal drugs are included in the testing, and this includes both cannabis and cocaine, both of which are known to slow reactions and even affect perception. However, there has been some concerns over the inclusion of a number of prescription drugs – after all, many motorists take these drugs on the advice of their doctor, and as long as the prescription does not adversely affect the individual’s driving, then there is no reason that they should stop taking the drugs or stop driving.
Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill has said that, as long as people are following their prescribed doses closely, then they will not be over the limit, but that there are defences for any instances where a person is found to be over the limit despite staying within the recommended dosage for any of the listed medications.