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Scotland to consider roadside testing and drug-driving limits

The Scottish Parliament is to consider introducing roadside testing and a new zero-tolerance limit for drug-driving. The proposed plan would set limits on the eight drugs that are most closely linked to illegal use where claims of accidental use are not credible. The eight drugs with proposed zero limits are heroin/diamorphine, MDMA/ecstasy, methylamphetamine, LSD, ketamine, cannabis/cannabinol, cocaine, and benzoylecgonine.

The plan would also place limits on drugs associated with medical use but pose a risk of impairment that would affect road safety. The drugs include temazepam, oxazepam, morphine, methadone, lorazepam, flunitrazepam, diazepam, and clonazepam.

Ash Denham, the community safety minister, presented evidence supporting the plan to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee on 19 February. If Parliament approves the plan, the new limits will become effective on 21 October. Denham said: “Once these new regulations are in place, Scotland will have the toughest criminal law approach on drink and drug-driving in the UK with the lowest drink-driving limit and drug-driving limits through this new offence. Drug-driving is completely unacceptable, and we will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to prevent the avoidable deaths and damage caused by those who drive under the influence of drugs.”

The UK Government’s Crime and Courts Act 2013 made it an offence to drive a motor vehicle while having a ‘concentration of specified controlled drug above specified limit.’ While Westminster sets the penalties for drink-driving and drug-driving, setting limits for drug levels is a devolved power.

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