BMA guidance

Taking blood specimens from incapacitated drivers

Guidance for doctors from the British Medical Association and the Faculty of Forensic & Legal Medicine.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Wednesday 26 April 2023
Topics: Ethics
Justice scales article illustration

This joint guidance with the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine (FFLM) provides information on the legal and ethical considerations when doctors are asked to take blood from incapacitated drivers for future consensual testing.

Such requests should be made to forensic health professionals but, if this is not reasonably practicable, another doctor or health professional, who is not responsible for the clinical care of the patient, may be asked.


What you’ll get from this guide

  • An understanding of legal basis for such requests as set out in in the Police Reform Act 2002 (in England, Wales and Scotland) and the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2005.
  • Guidance on the legal and ethical considerations when faced with such requests.

This guidance covers:

  • The Law
  • Assessing capacity
  • Competent patients
  • Incapacitated patients
  • Legal and ethical responsibilities