Call for specific drug driving limits for cannabis and cocaine

David Stewart MSP - calling for drug/drive limits for two specific drugs.
David Stewart MSP – calling for drug/drive limits for two specific drugs.

A CAMPAIGN TO introduce set drug driving limits in Scotland specific to cannabis and cocaine is being launched by a Highlands and Moray MSP.

Labour’s David Stewart MSP, a long standing campaigner on road safety issues, has raised the issue with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson.

While his reply was sympathetic, Mr Matheson said the issues involved were “complex – with limits to be considered for 15 different drug types”. Mr Matheson added that the Scottish Government wished to await the outcome of an evaluation of new drug drive limits in England and Wales before making any decision for Scotland.

Mr Stewart said: “From my research into the new drug driving limits in England and Wales, I ascertained that the detection rate for drug drivers has increased from 52% to over 90%. One drug driver taken off our roads is well worth any action set to achieve this.

“I am proposing that the Scottish Government seriously consider introducing a drug driving limit for cannabis and cocaine, being two of the most commonly abused substances in Scotland.

“The benefit of this positive action would be that it would allow the Police to more efficiently and effectively deal with drug drivers who had taken either of these drugs before driving, as the amount of the drug in the drivers body could be accurately recorded by means of the hand held drugs detection road side test kit (drugalyser).”

Mr Stewart insists that taking such action would negate the Cabinet Secretary’s concerns over setting limits for all 15 targeted drugs.

He added: “This step would further be seen as a positive approach to the detection of drug drivers, as research has shown that such drivers are motivated to drive whilst under the influence, because they feel the chance of detection is slim.

“If we had a limit set for cannabis and cocaine, then these drugs could be accurately detected by means of a drugalyser at the roadside. For all other drugs, the current FIT test, which is purely a subjected test, would still be applicable.

“The key here is that the drugalyser is accurate and can accurately give a reading of the amount of cannabis and cocaine in a drivers’ system at the locus whilst he or she is stopped and being dealt with by the Police. This at least would be a step in the right direction

“I have written back to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice outlying my proposals.”

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