The Facts

  • Like alcohol, some medicines can affect your ability to drive safely.
  • The police have a series of tests they carry out to see if you are impaired through drugs.
  • It’s not just prescribed medicines, over-the-counter drugs can also affect how you drive.
  • You might not even notice until you’re behind the wheel.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking any new medicine so you know it’s safe to drive.

The Risks

Driving when affected by medicine is no different to drink driving. It’s just as dangerous and you face the same tough penalties:

  • You could lose your licence for at least 12 months
  • You’ll have to pay a fine of up to £5000
  • You could go to jail for up to six months
  • The offence stays on your licence for 11 years.
  • You will have a lengthy criminal record.
  • Your vehicle could be seized and forfeited.


Illegal drugs have severe consequences on road users.

Things to consider

  • Medicines and drugs are designed to impact on your body. So you need to know if they will affect how you drive.
  • Read the label and, if in doubt, ask your pharmacist or GP for advice.
  • If your medicine affects your driving, do not get behind the wheel.
  • Don’t stop taking it but seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist.