Drivers taking prescription medication have been warned not to fall foul of new drug driving rules that have come into force from Monday 2 March 2015.
It is now an offence to drive under the influence of 16 legal and illegal drugs and motorists found to have more than the allowable levels of the substances in their bloodstream could face penalties.
The consequences are the same as drink driving penalties, with convicted motorists potentially facing a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record and a fine of up to £5,000 or up to six months in prison or both.
"You don't have to be on illegal drugs to be impaired to drive – prescription or over-the-counter medicines can also impair your ability to drive," warns the Department for Transport's Think! campaign.
"Do not drive if you feel drowsy, dizzy, unable to concentrate or make decisions, or if you have blurred or double vision. Check with your doctor or pharmacy team if you think you are affected," it adds.
As well as the penalties outlined above, a drug driving conviction can also lead to job loss, increases in car insurance premiums and difficulty in obtaining visas to travel to countries such as the US.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said the introduction of the drug driving rules has the potential to affect "hundreds of thousands of people" who use certain drugs for medicinal purposes.
"Motorists should keep copies of their prescriptions on them at all times, and discuss the effect of their medication with a doctor. Even if drugs you are routinely taking have never impaired your driving, if you're over the new limit for a particular drug and are caught, you will fall foul of the offence. So the message is - don't risk it, check it."
You can find out more at http://think.direct.gov.uk.