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Highland motorists face roadside drugs test as new laws are introduced


By Andrew Dixon


Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, Head of Road Policing with justice secretary Humza Yousaf, each holding Drugswipe testing kits. Picture: Neil Hanna Photography
Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, Head of Road Policing with justice secretary Humza Yousaf, each holding Drugswipe testing kits. Picture: Neil Hanna Photography

Motorists in the Highlands are facing the possibility of roadside drug tests as Scotland gets tougher on drug-driving.

A new law which introduces strict drug-drive limits came into effect today, with Police now able to carry out immediate tests using “mouth swabs” for any motorist they suspect of drug-driving, or who has 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, rising to 10 times for cocaine. Combining drugs or combining them with alcohol multiplies your 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 the eight drugs most associated with illegal use, including cannabis, heroin and cocaine. Drugs associated with medical use have limits based on impairment and road safety.

Chief Inspector Simon Bradshaw, Area Commander Road Policing North, said: “Officers across the north and north-east of Scotland work tirelessly on a daily basis to make our roads safer and I very much welcome the new legislation which provides additional new powers to detect drug-drivers through the use of roadside screening devices.

“This will have a positive impact on our ability to stop this type of illegal driving behaviour and improve road safety across all our communities.”

Upon conviction, drivers can receive a driving ban, penalty points on their licence, up to six months in prison and/or a fine.

Drugs can stay in a user’s system for hours and even days after consumption.

Scotland's justice secretary 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 coming into force.

“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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