Scotland: new ‘robust powers’ to tackle drug driving

07.53 | 16 October 2019 |

Tougher laws on drug driving, and a new roadside testing regime, are set to come into effect in Scotland – bringing the nation in line with England and Wales.

From 21 October, Scotland will adopt a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to the eight drugs most associated with illegal use – including cocaine, cannabis, ketamine, ecstasy, heroin and diamorphine – with limits set at a level where any claims of accidental exposure can be ruled out.

A list of other drugs associated with medical use will have limits based on impairment and road safety risk.

Drug-driving limits were introduced in England and Wales in March 2015.

Police Scotland officers will also carry out roadside drug testing using ‘mouth swabs’ for any motorist they suspect of drug driving, or who has been involved in a collision.

These tests make it easier to hold drug drivers to account – as there will no longer be a requirement to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner. 

Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s justice secretary, said: “Driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs is simply not acceptable. The consequences of causing a collision while under the influence can be devastating. 

“I am grateful to Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for their hard work to prepare for the new laws coming into force.

“Alongside our stringent drink driving limits, these new curbs will ensure Scotland’s law enforcement agencies have the most robust powers in the UK to tackle impaired and unsafe driving in order to keep people safe.”



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