Clampdown on drug driving

  • Date: 19 November 2019

NEW driving laws in Scotland take a zero tolerance approach to illegal drugs.

The eight substances most associated with illegal use, including cannabis, heroin, ecstasy and cocaine, will be targeted in the clampdown. Drugs associated with medical use will have limits based on impairment and road safety.

It has also been made easier for police to stop and test drivers as they no longer need to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner. Officers can use mouth swabs on any motorist they suspect of drug driving or who has been involved in an accident or stopped for a traffic offence.

The medicinal drugs which will have limits based on scientific evidence are clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, methadone, morphine, oxazepam and temazepam. A separate approach has been taken to amphetamine, balancing its legitimate use for medical purposes against its abuse.

Anyone taking medication in line with a prescription can claim a medical defence. However, they can still be prosecuted if they are demonstrating impairment. The medical defence is invalid if the prescription indicates that they should not drive while taking the medication.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf welcomed the new laws which came into effect on October 21.

He said: "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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