l

The content of this website is intended for healthcare professionals only

Scotland to toughen up drug driving offences

Legal limits and roadside testing set to come into force from October this year

Caroline White

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Scotland is set to toughen up its road safety laws with the introduction of drug driving limits and roadside testing from October this year, pending MSPs’ approval.

In Scotland it is currently illegal to drive under the influence of prescription or illicit drugs. But no legal limits have been set.

The new regulations will permit prosecutions where different drug types are above specified levels in the bloodstream.

From October, the police will take a zero-tolerance approach to the eight drugs most associated with illegal use, with limits set at levels designed to rule out any claims of accidental exposure.

These drugs include benzoylecgonine; cocaine; delta–9–tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis and cannabinol); ketamine; lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD); methylamphetamine; methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA – ecstasy); and 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM – heroin and diamorphine).

Other drugs associated with medical use will have limits based on impairment and their risk to road safety.

These include clonazepam; diazepam; flunitrazepam; lorazepam; methadone; morphine; oxazepam; and temazepam. A separate approach will be taken to amphetamine to balance its legitimate use against its abuse.

This more stringent legislation is intended to 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.

The new regulations will permit prosecutions where different drug types are above specified levels in the bloodstream.

Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service are on track to implement the new regulations in October.

Commenting on the move, justice secretary Humza Yousaf, said: “The introduction of drug driving limits will strengthen the power of Scotland’s police and prosecutors to tackle the minority of drivers who irresponsibly put themselves and other road-users at risk.

“Drug driving is completely unacceptable, and we will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to prevent the avoidable deaths and damage caused by those who drive under the influence of drugs.”

He continued: “Together with our stringent drink-driving limits, these new laws will ensure that Scotland has the UK’s most robust laws against impaired and unsafe driving.”

Registered in England and Wales. Reg No. 2530185. c/o Wilmington plc, 5th Floor, 10 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 8QS. Reg No. 30158470