Am I allowed to drive under the influence of drugs?

Drugs impair your driving ability, substantially increasing the likelihood of an accident. Driving under the influence of drugs is therefore prohibited.

Limits on drug use when driving

Statutory limits on the use of drugs when driving have been in force since 1 July 2017. If you have used more than the permitted amount, you may not drive. If you do, you are committing a criminal offence.

The limits apply to:

  • amphetamine
  • methamphetamine
  • cocaine
  • MDMA
  • MDEA
  • MDA
  • cannabis
  • heroin
  • morphine
  • GHB
  • gamma Butyrolactone
  • 1.4-Butanediol

Generally speaking, the ban on driving under the influence of drugs extends to other drugs too. This includes any medication that affects your ability to drive.

Zero limits for combination of drugs or of drugs and alcohol

Using a combination of drugs, or of drugs and alcohol, increases the likelihood of a road accident. That is why zero limits have been set for combinations. You may not therefore drive if you have used several different drugs, or both drugs and alcohol. If you do, you are committing a criminal offence.

Checks on drug use

When a driver is stopped, there are two ways of checking for drug use: a saliva test and/or a test of psychomotor abilities (i.e. whether you can focus your eyes and whether your speech is slurred). A saliva test is a quick and simple way of testing whether someone has used drugs. If the result is positive, the police will ask the suspect to provide a blood sample which will be tested by the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). It takes two weeks for the result to be made available.

Drugs can remain in the body for some time after they have been taken. In view of the zero limit, it can therefore be risky to drive if you have used drugs in the past few days.

The length of time that drugs remain detectable in the body depends on:

  • the type of drug (some disappear quickly from the bloodstream, others more slowly)
  • the quality and quantity of drugs taken
  • frequency of use
  • individual characteristics, like the metabolism and weight of the individual.

Driving under the influence of medication remains a criminal offence. Limits will be applied to certain medicines.

If you do not agree with the result of a test, you may request a review.

Fine or penalty for driving under the influence of drugs

The Public Prosecution Service (OM) may fine you or send you to prison if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs and/or medication. A court may also suspend your driving licence for up to five years. The police can also report suspects to the Driver Licensing Centre (CBR). You may be tested for drug dependency. While you are being tested your driving licence will be temporarily suspended.

Any driver who is convicted of driving under the influence twice in five years will have their driving licence cancelled. They will then have to take another driving test to obtain a new licence.

Examination for drug dependency

If the police suspect that a person is not fit to drive, they may report them to the CBR. The CBR may examine that person for drug dependency.