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Communtity Law Manual | Driving & traffic law | Drugs: Driving while affected by drugs or medicines

Drink/drug driving

Drugs: Driving while affected by drugs or medicines

Driving while incapable of control because of drugs

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 12, 58(1)(a)

You’re not allowed to drive, or try to drive, while you’re under the influence of drugs so that you can’t properly control your vehicle.

For a first or second conviction, you can be jailed up to three months or fined up to $4,500, and you’ll be automatically disqualified for at least six months.

Driving while “impaired” by illegal drugs or medicines

Land Transport Act 1998, ss 11A, 57A

You must not drive, or try to drive, a vehicle while:

  • you’re “impaired”, as shown by a compulsory impairment test (see below, “Tests for alcohol or drug use / Drug impairment tests”), and
  • your blood contains evidence of illegal drugs or prescription medicines (called “qualifying drugs” in the Land Transport Act).

For a first or second conviction, you can be jailed up to three months or fined up to $4,500, and you’ll be automatically disqualified for at least six months.

“Qualifying drugs” include:

  • Class A drugs, such as heroin, LSD and methamphetamine (or “P”)
  • Class B drugs, such as amphetamines (speed), morphine and opium
  • some Class C drugs, such as cannabis and BZP (the psychoactive ingredient in most illegal “party pills”)
  • prescription medicines.

Driving after taking Class A drugs

Land Transport Act 1998, s 58(1)(b)

You’re not allowed to drive, or try to drive, if you’ve taken a Class A illegal drug (such as heroin, LSD or P), as shown by a subsequent blood test.

For a first or second conviction, you can be jailed up to three months or fined up to $4,500, and you’ll be automatically disqualified for at least six months.

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