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Driving under the influence

Any amount of alcohol or drugs in your body can affect your ability to drive and hundreds of people are killed or injured each year as a result.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs risks your life and also the lives of those around you. This includes legal medication prescribed by your GP or hospital as some medications affect your driving ability.

There is no excuse for driving whilst on drugs or under the influence of alcohol as it creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your response reactions.

The morning after

You're often still unsafe to drive the morning after taking drugs or drinking alcohol. 

Going to sleep doesn’t always mean you wake up under the limit. Drugs and alcohol stay in your system for hours or even days. To find our approximately when you’ll be safe to drive, use the morning after calculator.

Consequences of drink or drug driving

The consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be fatal but at the very least, getting caught can result in;

  • a minimum of a 12 month driving ban
  • a criminal record
  • a fine of up to £5,000
  • up to six months in prison
  • an endorsement on your license for 11 years.

There are also other costs of getting caught whilst driving under the influence. If caught, your car insurance will increase and you may lose your job and experience difficulty entering other countries, such as the USA.

Driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol is simply not worth the risk.

Plan your route home

If you’re planning on going out and drinking, always plan your way home beforehand. Options can include agreeing a designated sober driver, saving a taxi number on your phone or taking other public transport links to get home.

Remember, don’t offer any alcohol of drugs to someone you know is planning to drive and don’t accept a lift from a driver you know has drank alcohol or taken drugs.

Legal alcohol limits for driving

There are strict alcohol limits for driversin the UK. Our advice is always to drive sober, but the legal limits are;

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

It is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. The way alcohol affects you depends on;

  • your weight, age, sex and metabolism
  • the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
  • what you’ve eaten recently
  • your stress levels at the time.

Drug driving law

The drug laws are just as strict as those for drink driving. Our officers have roadside screening tests for cannabis and cocaine. If you appear to be under the influence, you will be arrested and taken to a police station for further tests.

Seventeen legal and illegal drugs are covered by the law, including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. More information on drug driving can be found on GOV.UK.

Driving whilst taking medication

If you have been prescribed any of the below listed medications, you should speak to your doctor about driving whilst taking these medications;

  • amphetamine, for example dexamphetamine or selegiline
  • clonazepam
  • diazepam
  • flunitrazepam
  • lorazepam
  • methadone
  • morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, e.g.; codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
  • oxazepam
  • temazepam.

Further information on driving whilst taking medication can be found on GOV.UK.

Report a drink or drug driver

To report a drink or drug driver, please call 0800 032 0845 and you could help save a life.

The hotline is confidential hotline and open 24/7 to report people driving under the influence in Cambridgeshire. You will be asked to provide as much information as possible, including the name of the driver and make, colour and registration number of the vehicle.

If a crime is taking place or you feel someone is in immediate danger, please dial 999.

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