New drug-driving limits planned in Scotland

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Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said on Friday that the legislation will allow prosecutions where different drugs above specified levels are detected. This should make it easier to hold drug-drivers to account as there will be no requirement to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner.

Similar laws are already in effect in England and Wales.

The move comes after Scotland reduced the drink-driving limit to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, making it the lowest limit in the UK. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the limit remains 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Commenting on the decision, 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."

A zero tolerance drug-driving ban was introduced in England and Wales in 2015, making it an offence to drive after taking certain controlled drugs (both illicit and some prescription-only drugs). According to road safety charity Brake, between March 2015 and April 2016 almost 8,000 people were arrested for the offence and the number of convictions for careless driving under the influence of drugs also rose from 1,039 in 2014 to 1,490 in 2015.

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