Motorists could be slapped with heavy fines or even prosecuted for getting behind the wheel while under the influence of cold or flu medicine this Autumn, according to experts.
Specialists at Quotezone warn medications usually sold over-the-counter in pharmacies could present a major risk if motorists are unaware of a simple driving law.
Medicines to alleviate symptoms of colds and the flu could make road users drowsy behind the wheel which presents a major safety risk to other motorists.
Greg Wilson, founder and CEO of Quotezone has warned any driver stopped by the authorities could be issued “life-changing” penalties.
He said: “You might not think that taking cold and flu tablets could lead to a criminal conviction, but in actual fact, many common over-the-counter drugs have ingredients that could potentially make you drowsy.
“If you’re unwell, it’s imperative to check that what you are taking won’t cause drowsiness or dizziness or any side effects that could impair your ability to drive such as blurred vision or slow reaction times.
“We all feel like we don’t have time to be sick sometimes, lives are just too hectic but driving in an impaired state is very serious, meaning the penalties for doing so can be life-changing.
“Even if you are used to taking the medication in question and it hasn’t previously affected your driving if you get stopped by police or you’re involved in an incident and your medication has a warning not to operate heavy machinery, you’ll likely still be charged. The safest thing to do is avoid driving, rest up and not take the risk.”
Road users found to be driving dangerously under the influence of medication could be handed an unlimited fine and a one-year driving ban.
Under some circumstances, motorists could even be slapped with a six-month prison sentence and a criminal record.
Details about drug driving will remain on a driving licence for up to 11 years afterwards which could have consequences.
This will make it hard for motorists to find an insurance provider with any services likely to be extortionate.
Meanwhile, those impacted may also be barred from travelling to certain countries with strict drug rules, such as the United States of America.
GOV.UK explained: “It’s illegal in England, Scotland and Wales to drive with legal drugs in your body if it impairs your driving.
“It’s an offence to drive if you have over the specified limits of certain drugs in your blood and you have not been prescribed them.”
Officials say drivers can get behind the wheel after taking legal drugs if they have been prescribed them and road users follow advice on how to take them from a healthcare professional.
Any medication must also not cause an individual to be unfit to drive even if they are above the specified limits.