These days, having excellent driving ability, and adhering to the UK's rules and regulations relating to not being under the influence of drugs (that are classed as illegal); or having certain levels of legal prescription drugs in our bloodstream, is paramount to safety on the roads. When driving a road vehicle, it is against the law be under the influence of any level of illegal drugs. This is because even if you have only consumed a small amount, this can still have a negative impact on the body, and thus affect your optimum ability to drive.
Why Driving Under the Influence of Drugs is So Dangerous?
Drugged driving, which is classified as: driving a vehicle with diminished capability brought about by the intoxicating impact of recently consumed drugs, is extremely dangerous. - This is because it puts both those in the vehicle, and other road users, at serious risk of an accident and life-threatening injuries and death.
Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, shows that even small quantities of particular drugs in the body, can generate a negative effect. - Indeed, the impact of certain drugs on a driver's ability to drive safely, varies according to the way the drugs interact with the individual's brain. Good examples of this include:
- Reduced coordination, impaired judgment of distance and time, and slow body reaction due to marijuana in the system
- Reckless and aggressive behaviour while driving under the influence of methamphetamine or cocaine
- Opioids, benzodiazepines, and other specific prescription-only medication, can generate impaired cognitive functioning (judgement and thinking ability), dizziness and drowsiness. - All serious issues that can lead to traffic accidents. In fact, some research indicates that driving whilst under the affect of opioids can double the driver's risk of crashing .
In the UK, the drug driving facts present a clear and present danger that all companies and organisations employing drivers, must be mindful of. These include:
- When driving under the influence of cannabis, the driver faces twice the chance of sustaining a serious injury or a fatality. (In instances when the driver has also consumed alcohol, this shoots up to 16 times the chance of sustaining a serious injury or a fatality)
- When driving under the influence of opiates or cocaine, the chance of sustaining a serious injury or a fatality can be two to ten times greater than normal
- When driving under the influence of amphetamines, the chance of sustaining a serious injury or a fatality can be five to thirty times greater than normal 
These alarming statistics show just how important it is for companies and organisations to conduct regular on-site random drug testing, with highly accurate state-of-the art testing kits provided by Drug Testing Kits UK.
How is a UK Roadside Drug Test Held?
In the United Kingdom, it is a criminal offence to drive a vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs. In addition to this, it is a criminal offence for a driver to be under the influence of specific controlled illicit drugs in England, Scotland and Wales. Furthermore, in the aforementioned regions, drivers are not permitted to take to the roads when they are under the influence of specified levels of certain types of prescription-only pharmaceuticals .
In accordance with the current UK drug-driving law, if roadside police suspect that a driver is under the influence of drugs, they can signal them to stop. After this, the police will approach the driver, search the vehicle for the presence of drugs; and then conduct a standard form of roadside testing, known as a "field-impairment" assessment. - (This comprises various types of tests such as the highly accurate, rapid on-site saliva drug tests provided by Drug Testing Kits UK). Moreover, the roadside police are likely to tell the vehicle driver to walk a short distance, so that they can determine whether they can walk in a normal straight line [2, 3].
If the roadside police deem that the vehicle driver is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both, and is thus not fit to drive, then they will be under arrest, and driven to the nearest local police station. Once there, they will have to give saliva or urine samples . The saliva and urine drug test
results will be examined by a police officer who is specially trained in this field, as they will need to be vigilant against results that indicate false positives, field impairment, and accidental exposure. - All of which would compromise the driver being charged.
Which Drugs Are Tested For on a UK Roadside Drug Test?
The British roadside police often test for cocaine and cannabis - two of the most popular illegal drugs that attract heavy users. That said, a drug driving test in the UK, can involve a driver being taken by a police officer to the nearest local police station (that carries out comprehensive drug testing). - Here they can be tested for a total of eight illicit drugs. These comprise:
Are Prescription Drugs Covered Under the UK Roadside Drug Test?
The police drug test can include medicinal drugs. It is an offence for a driver who is on certain types of legally (or illegally) obtained prescription medication/medicinal drugs, to take more than the specified legal limit, and drive with them in their system. Prescription drugs are tested for at the police station. The medicinal drugs which are tested may include:
Amphetamine (including selegiline or dexamphetamine)
Opiate/opioid-based drugs, or morphine (such as: fentanyl, tramadol and codeine)
What Happens if a Person Fails the Roadside Test?
If a driver fails the roadside drug test, then in all probability, they will be placed under arrest, and a urine and/or blood sample will be taken in order to conduct an in-depth analysis. If the driver's abnormal behaviour from having certain drugs in their bloodstream has been evidenced a blood or urine test, then the user to likely to face grievous penalties.
Drivers can be subject to criminal prosecution and conviction. In fact, a failed police drug test in the UK is very serious, particularly for employees who have to drive as part of their work duties. Moreover, it can prove problematic for the employer, especially if their employees' drug driving has caused serious or fatal road traffic accidents and prison sentences.
The worst sentence for a driver under the influence of drugs, is up to 14 years in prison for dangerous driving that results in one or more fatalities. A drug-driving conviction can also lead to 6 months imprisonment, a large fine, a criminal record, a driving licence endorsement (will be be on the driver's record for 11 years); and a year or more ban from driving.
Such outcomes would mean higher vehicle insurance costs for the employer (after the driving ban was lifted), provided the employer was prepared to allow the employee to resume their normal driving duties.
In summary, passing a UK roadside drug test means being familiar with the current UK rules and regulations, which cover both illicit drugs and prescribed medicinal drugs. This knowledge is extremely important for road safety. Moreover, it is vital for employers at companies and organisations that employee drivers. The harsh statistics of road accidents and fatalities on the UK roads, clearly highlight the need for regular on-site drug testing within the workplace. Testing that should be conducted using the latest state-of-the art highly accurate drug tests, such as those provided by DrugTesting Kits UK.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse (2019). "Drug Driving Drug Facts."
. Brake Road Safety (2022). "DRUG DRIVING: The risks, the law and the penalties."
. Caddick Davies (2022). "Police Roadside Drug Test – What You Need to Know."