Motorists in Scotland are now facing the possibility of roadside drug tests asa new law which came into force earlier this month introduces strict drug-drive limits, with police now able to carry out immediate tests using mouth swabs for any motorist they suspect of drug-driving, or who have been involved in a collision or stopped for a traffic offence.
If the test is positive, drivers will be arrested.
People are up to three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a road crash when driving after taking cannabis. Combining drugs or mixing them with alcohol multiplies a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash.
The new law means it is now easier to hold drug-drivers to account as there is no requirement to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner. There is a zero-tolerance approach to cannabis, as well as heroin and cocaine.
Drugs associated with medical use have limits based on impairment and road safety.
Chief Inspector Darren Faulds, area commander for Road Policing West, said: “This new legislation gives my officers the powers to detect, at the roadside, those selfish motorists who risk the lives of others and themselves by driving after taking illegal substances.
“Hopefully this will act as a deterrent to those who are involved in the taking of illegal substances from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle”.
A drug-drive conviction is both a criminal and driving offence. Upon conviction drivers will receive a minimum 12-month driving ban, three to 11 penalty points on their licence, a criminal record, up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to £5000.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf said: “Driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs is simply not acceptable; the consequences of causing a collision while under the influence can be devastating.
“I am grateful to Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, and the Crown Office and procurator fiscal service for their hard work to prepare for the new laws.
“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.”