New 'zero tolerance' drug driving limits to be introduced in Scotland

Written by Jenni Davidson on 15 January 2019 in News

The aim is to make it easier for police to target people driving under the influence of drugs

Cannabis - credit arachnized

New “zero tolerance” drug driving limits will be introduced later this year if MSPs back plans for a change in the law.

Under the new approach proposed by the Scottish Government, near zero limits will be set for driving under the influence eight illegal drugs, based on the lowest possible level where accidental exposure can be ruled out.

The eight include cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, cannabis, LSD, heroin, methylamphetamine and benzoylecgonine.

Another eight drugs, including methadone, diazepam and morphine, that may be prescribed by doctors for medicinal purposes will have maximum levels based on safe levels for driving.

The aim is to make it easier for police to target people driving under the influence of drugs.

Currently there are no specific maximum levels and police have to prove that a person’s driving is impaired by the drugs to be able to prosecute.

The new offence of driving while above specified drug limits will operate alongside the current offence of being in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

It will have the same maximum sentences of a minimum 12-month driving ban, up to six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000.

The plan is to introduce the crackdown, along with roadside testing, from October 2019.

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. 

“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.” 

Chief Inspector Stephen Innes of Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland is committed to reducing road casualties, and tackling drink and drug driving is a key focus of our activity.

“The devastating impact of drug driving on victims, communities and users themselves cannot be understated. 

“This new legislation will significantly enhance our ability to detect and deter motorists engaging in this extremely risky driving behaviour. 

“We are currently working closely with key partners and plans are well advanced to deliver this new legislation in October this year.” 

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