Alcohol and drugs (rules 95 to 96)

Rule 95

Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities.

In England and Wales you MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

In Scotland the legal limits are lower. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 22 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 50 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

Alcohol will

  • give a false sense of confidence
  • reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions
  • affect judgement of speed, distance and risk
  • reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit
  • take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening.

The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport.

Laws RTA 1988 sects 4, 5 & 11(2), & PLSR

Rule 96

You MUST NOT drive under the influence of drugs or medicine. For medicines, check with your doctor or pharmacist and do not drive if you are advised that you may be impaired.

You MUST NOT drive if you have illegal drugs or certain medicines in your blood above specified limits. It is highly dangerous so never take illegal drugs if you intend to drive; the effects are unpredictable, but can be even more severe than alcohol and result in fatal or serious road crashes. Illegal drugs have been specified at very low levels so even small amounts of use could be above the specified limits. The limits for certain medicines have been specified at higher levels, above the levels generally found in the blood of patients who have taken normal therapeutic doses. If you are found to have a concentration of a drug above its specified limit in your blood because you have been prescribed or legitimately supplied a particularly high dose of medicine, then you can raise a statutory medical defence, provided your driving was not impaired by the medicine you are taking.

Law RTA 1988 sects 4 & 5