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Scotland to introduce new drug driving laws

Scotland’s road safety laws will be strengthened further by the introduction of drug driving limits and roadside testing on 21 October.

Regulations laid in the Scottish Parliament, subject to MSPs’ approval, will permit prosecutions where different drug types are found to be above specified levels.

There will be a zero tolerance approach to eight drugs most associated with illegal use, including cannabis, heroin and cocaine, with limits set at a level where any claims of accidental exposure can be ruled out. This will make it easier to hold drug drivers to account as there will no longer be a requirement to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner.

Meanwhile, a list of other drugs associated with medical use will have limits based on impairment and risk to road safety. They include clonazepam; diazepam; flunitrazepam; lorazepam; methadone; morphine; oxazepam; and temazepam. A separate approach will be taken to amphetamine, balancing its legitimate use for medical purposes against its abuse.

Any person taking medication in line with the prescription they have can claim the medical defence to the new offence. However, they can still be prosecuted under the existing impairment offence. If the prescription indicates that they should not drive while taking the medication then they are unable to claim the medical defence.

“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,” Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said. “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.”

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Posted on 3rd October 2019 at 1:14 PM

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