You will no doubt be aware of the lobbying and campaigning for Scotland to adopt the England and Wales policy of drug driving roadside tests. It has now been reported that Scotland will bring in drug-driving limits and roadside tests in 2019.
In 2014, Scotland reduced its drink driving limits to 50 mcg of alcohol in 100ml of blood whilst England and Wales have kept theirs at 80 mcg.
However, Scotland has been criticised by many for not following England and Wales with a campaign to clamp down on drug driving.
It has been reported that under new Scottish laws there will be specified limits on some drugs and a zero toluene to others.
It is still an offence in Scotland to drive a vehicle whilst being impaired through drugs, however, the impairment test is not accurate and can take a lot of time. The new drug driving laws will make the process a lot faster and be a lot easier to prosecute than trying to prove impairment.
Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson stated: “This government prioritised lowering the drink-driving limit in 2014 with evidence showing greater numbers of lives lost on our roads due to drink-driving than drug-driving.
“With the lower blood-alcohol limit well established, I want to give our law enforcement agencies enhanced powers to tackle drug-driving and so make our roads even safer.
“While it is a long-standing offence to drive while impaired by drugs, by introducing new drug-driving limits and roadside testing for the presence of drugs, we will strengthen the ability of our police and prosecutors to tackle the minority of drivers who recklessly put other road-users and themselves at risk.”
He continued: “Under the new offence, evidence of impaired driving will not be required with our law enforcement agencies instead able to investigate and prosecute on the basis of a driver being above the specified limits for individual drug types.
“Subject to Parliament’s agreement and once the new regime is in force, Scotland will be at the forefront of efforts across the UK to tackle drivers who either drink or take drugs – with both the lowest drink-drive limit operating in these islands and drug-driving limits in place.”
Insp Brian Poole, of Police Scotland, said officers would welcome any move to make Scotland’s roads safer. “The impairment test is a valuable tool,” he said. “The downside is that not all police officers in Scotland are trained in its use. It’s mainly road safety officers.
“In addition, it takes 10-15 minutes and we have to find a suitable place for it to take place.
“Clearly the middle of a motorway is not suitable. We potentially have to take someone away to somewhere more suitable – which we are entitled to do but there are issues around time.”
He added: “Taking alcohol or drugs and getting behind the wheel is clearly very risky. Anything we can do legislatively or educationally to stop that is to be welcomed.
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