DRUID Final Report: Work performed, main results and recommendations

  • Published: EU DRUID Programme (2012)
  • Authors: H. Schulze, M. Schumacher, R. Urmeew and K. Auerbach
  • Date Added: 22 Dec 2013
  • Last Update: 16 May 2014
  • Format: pdf


Overall objective of the DRUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and medicines) project was to provide scientific support to EU road safety policy makers by making scientific based recommendations concerning combating driving under the influence of psychoactive substances.


Project split into 7 work packages (WP)

  1. To enable policy makers to refer to a substance blood concentration threshold defined for driving a power-driven vehicle (methodology and experimental research).

  2. To deliver reference studies of the impact on fitness to drive for alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines (epidemiological studies, relative risk calculation).

  3. To evaluate mobile drug detection devices and to implement cost-benefit analysis of enforcement strategies (enforcement: methods and devices, enforceable legislation).

  4. To introduce classification and labelling system for medicines with regard to their influence on driving performance (developing a classification system for medicinal drugs).

  5. To provide authorities with recommendations concerning effective driver rehabilitation schemes, adapted to individual driver’s situation (rehabilitation – good practice).

  6. To recommend strategies of driving bans, which are compatible with the road safety objectives and at the same time respect the need for mobility (withdrawal – existing practices and recommendations).

  7. To define responsibility of health care professionals vis-à-vis dangerous patients consuming psychoactive substances and the role they can play with regard to road safety. To develop information and dissemination instruments for different target groups (dissemination and guidelines, training measures).

Key Findings

Illicit drugs

  • Prevalence of illicit drugs in the general driving population is much lower than the prevalence of alcohol.

  • Cannabis is the most prevalent drug, followed by cocaine and amphetamines.

  • Injury risk is extremely increased with combined use of drugs and alcohol.

  • Due to the national variability in prevalence rates of illicit drugs use of countermeasures should be adapted to national requirements.

  • Countermeasures should be target-group-specific and take into account driver characteristics.

  • Interventions targeting young drivers should be addressed including enforcement strategies, educational activities and legislative measures.

  • Illicit drugs can be detected by on-site drug screenings, but lack specificity and sensitivity.

  • Checklists (Clinical Signs Inventory) are a good method to support on-site drug screenings, but DRUID results were not encouraging.

  • Driver rehabilitation should be part of a wider countermeasure system with legal regulation to ensure interventions are undertaken by offenders.

Psychoactive medicines

  • The prevalence of medicines (1.4%) in the driving population is less than alcohol (3.5%) and illicit drugs (1.9%).

  • DRUID suggests the implementation of a four level classification and labelling system regarding the influence of medicines on driving performance.

  • Where medicines are misused by patients and healthy drivers legal procedures need to be undertaken.


Drug driving, policy, illicit drugs, medicines, fitness to drive


European research programme to advise policy