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Road Traffic Act 1988

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[F15ADriving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with concentration of specified controlled drug above specified limitE+W+S+N.I.

(1)This section applies where a person (“D”)—

(a)drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, or

(b)is in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place,

and there is in D's body a specified controlled drug.

(2)D is guilty of an offence if the proportion of the drug in D's blood or urine exceeds the specified limit for that drug.

(3)It is a defence for a person (“D”) charged with an offence under this section to show that—

(a)the specified controlled drug had been prescribed or supplied to D for medical or dental purposes,

(b)D took the drug in accordance with any directions given by the person by whom the drug was prescribed or supplied, and with any accompanying instructions (so far as consistent with any such directions) given by the manufacturer or distributor of the drug, and

(c)D's possession of the drug immediately before taking it was not unlawful under section 5(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (restriction of possession of controlled drugs) because of an exemption in regulations made under section 7 of that Act (authorisation of activities otherwise unlawful under foregoing provisions).

(4)The defence in subsection (3) is not available if D's actions were—

(a)contrary to any advice, given by the person by whom the drug was prescribed or supplied, about the amount of time that should elapse between taking the drug and driving a motor vehicle, or

(b)contrary to any accompanying instructions about that matter (so far as consistent with any such advice) given by the manufacturer or distributor of the drug.

(5)If evidence is adduced that is sufficient to raise an issue with respect to the defence in subsection (3), the court must assume that the defence is satisfied unless the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that it is not.

(6)It is a defence for a person (“D”) charged with an offence by virtue of subsection (1)(b) to prove that at the time D is alleged to have committed the offence the circumstances were such that there was no likelihood of D driving the vehicle whilst the proportion of the specified controlled drug in D's blood or urine remained likely to exceed the specified limit for that drug.

(7)The court may, in determining whether there was such a likelihood, disregard any injury to D and any damage to the vehicle.

(8)In this section, and in sections 3A, 6C(1), 6D and 10, “specified” means specified in regulations made—

(a)by the Secretary of State, in relation to driving or attempting to drive, or being in charge of a vehicle, in England and Wales;

(b)by the Scottish Ministers, in relation to driving or attempting to drive, or being in charge of a vehicle, in Scotland.

(9)A limit specified under subsection (2) may be zero.]

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Amendments (Textual)

F1S. 5A inserted (2.3.2015 for E.W.) by Crime and Courts Act 2013 (c. 22), ss. 56(1), 61(2); S.I. 2014/3268, art. 2

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