Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the Scottish government to introduce a zero-tolerance policy for drug driving.
The call comes as the Scottish National Party opens its annual Spring Conference, in Aberdeen. In 2014, Scotland led the way by introducing a lower limit than the rest of the UK, for drunk-driving (50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The rest of the UK retains 80mg limit – higher than all other EU countries except Malta). Brake believes it is now time to take the next step to by introducing a similar drug driving law.
Drug driving hampers driver reaction time and encourages dangerous behaviours that put the individual and other road users at risk.
The latest available UK figures, from 2015, showed that 62 fatal crashes were a result of impairment by illicit drugs. In a survey, last year by Brake and Direct Line, 7% of respondents admitted to driving while under the influence of drugs, with over half doing so on a weekly basis.
In 2015, England and Wales introduced a zero tolerance drug driving ban, making it an offence to drive with certain controlled drugs (both illicit and some prescription-only drugs) but this law does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Since the drug driving ban was introduced, drug-driving arrests have soared in police forces across England and Wales. 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.
Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “As the governing party gathers in Aberdeen, I want to send the First Minister a clear message that her government needs to root out dangerous and potentially deadly driving by introducing a drug-driving law. There’s evidence that the law is working in the other nations of the UK and will work in Scotland.”