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'Zero tolerance' approach to drug driving in Scotland under new rules

Motorists in Scotland will be subject to a ‘zero tolerance’ approach if they are caught breaking new drug-drive limits proposed by the Scottish Government.

Under roadside testing that is due to be rolled out from 21st October 2019, offenders could be banned from driving for up to 12 months or face six months in prison. The new laws will introduce limits set very close to zero in relation to driving under the influence of eight drugs that are most associated with illegal use; benzoylecgonine, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, ketamine, LSD and methylamphetamine. A further right which can have medicinal purposes – such as methadone and morphine – will have a higher limit based on their ability to impair the driver.

Chief Inspector Stephen Innes of Police Scotland stated:

“Police Scotland is committed to reducing road casualties, and tackling drink and drug driving is a key focus of our activity. This new legislation will significantly enhance our ability to detect and deter motorists engaging in this extremely risky driving behaviour.”

What are the current laws in Scotland?

It is illegal to drive if you are impaired with drugs in Scotland, regardless of whether they are banned substances or prescription drugs. It is an offence to be in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit due to drugs - with penalties being a minimum 12-month driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000, and up to six months in prison - however, there have never been set limits as there are with alcohol. Police, instead, must rely on a doctor to certify that a driver is, in their opinion, unfit to drive due to drugs.

Under the new rules, there would be specific limits for certain drugs – as there is with alcohol.

Justice Secretary Humz Yousaf concluded:

“The introduction to 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. 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.”

Contact our Drug Driving Defence Lawyers, Glasgow

If you are facing a drug driving charge, it is imperative that you get first-class legal advice for a proactive road traffic offence solicitors. We are highly experienced in the criminal law field and are well accustomed to dealing with highly complex cases and handling large amounts of evidence. Contact Keith J Tuck Solicitors today via the online enquiry form for specialist legal representation. 

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