Zero tolerance demand by Tories over drug-driving

Conservatives say Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK.
Conservatives say Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK.
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The Scottish Conservatives have launched a campaign calling for a harder stance on drug-driving north of the ­Border, claiming tougher ­legislation is needed to stop Scotland ­lagging behind other parts of the UK.

Its campaign follows similar calls from road safety charity Brake, which wants laws ­similar to that of the current drink-driving legislation.

The charity, backed by ­parents whose children have been killed by drug-drivers, said Scotland “led the way by introducing a lower limit than the rest of the UK for drunk-driving,” in 2014.

It is an offence to drive while “impaired by drugs” in Scotland, but there is no specific limit.

The Tories want a limit for legal drugs such as prescription medicines to be introduced alongside a zero tolerance approach to driving on illegal drugs.

Roadside drug testing kits should be introduced to effectively police drug-driving, the party said.

The call is backed by parents including Janice Ward, whose 20-year old daughter Rachael was killed by a drug-driver.

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, including illicit and some prescription-only substances.

Since the ban, drug-driving arrests have soared across ­England and Wales.

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservatives’ justice spokesman said: “The evidence is clear – drug-driving is just as dangerous as drink-driving. Yet in Scotland, the government has simply failed to respond to this menace on our roads.

“We need improved legislation to tackle driving under the influence of all dangerous ­substances and a zero tolerance approach to anyone foolish enough to drive having taken drugs.

“We must also give our police the resources and equipment to put this into practice.

“Quite simply, Scotland has lagged behind other parts of the UK in failing to tackle this issue. The SNP Government needs to take action without further delay.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Scotland has long-standing legislation used by Police Scotland, prosecutors and our courts that makes it an offence to drive while being impaired due to drugs.

“We prioritised lowering the drink-driving limit in 2014 as evidence showed such a policy could help save lives.

“We are considering very carefully whether evidence shows that specific drug-driving limits should be introduced in Scotland.”