Published: 21/04/2017 14:05 - Updated: 21/04/2017 14:09

New roadside drug tests for drivers in Scotland

The new limits and tests will build on Scotland's tough drink driving laws.
The new limits and tests will build on Scotland's tough drink driving laws.

DRUG-driving limits and roadside testing are to be introduced in Scotland.

The move was announced today by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson.

It is illegal to drive while impaired by drugs and this offence will continue to operate.

But the Scottish Government plans to introduce new drug-driving limits that will allow prosecutions where different drug types above specified levels are detected.

This should mean it is easier to hold drug-drivers to account as there will be no requirement to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner.

Mr Matheson said: "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.

"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.

Ministers intend to lay regulations by the end of 2017 for approval by MSPs, with implementation, including the need to have the necessary testing equipment in place, expected in 2019.

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