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Police launch crackdown on drug-driving with warning of high detection rate

The campaign was launched on Friday (Gibson Digital/PA)
The campaign was launched on Friday (Gibson Digital/PA)

Nearly half of motorists swabbed for drugs were arrested for driving under their influence, analysis revealed as police launched a crackdown ahead of the festive season.

A campaign launched by Police Scotland and the Scottish Government on Friday warns drivers that drugs can slow down responses, making a collision more likely.

Police said they will be ready to catch suspected drug-drivers throughout the festive period, with roadside tests using drug wipes. If the test is positive, drivers will be arrested.

The force said they encounter 40-50 motorists a week on average who test positive for drugs.

Those who test positive are arrested and taken to a police station, where a blood sample is obtained and sent for further analysis.

Punishment in the courts can include six months in prison, a 12-month driving ban, or a £5,000 fine, but police warned potential consequences include killing someone, or causing serious injury.

Chief Superintendent Hilary Sloan, Police Scotland’s head of road policing, said: “We continue to see motorists put others at risk by driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, despite repeated warnings about the dangers of drink and drug-driving.

“It doesn’t matter how good a driver you think you are, alcohol and drugs will affect your reactions and your judgment.

“Don’t put yourself or others at risk. You could lose your job, end up in prison or suffer life-changing injuries. Think of the impact it could have on your loved ones. You could kill someone.

“If anyone is concerned about a driver’s behaviour, let us know. Help us keep Scotland’s roads safe.”

Penalty points and a criminal record are also the result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The statistics on drug-driving arrests cover the period since 2019 when the tests were introduced.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “The consequences of drug-driving can be devastating and those found guilty of breaking the law face a criminal record, a large fine, and up to six months in prison.

“Driving with drugs in your system puts the driver, passengers and other road users at risk of serious injury, or death.

“The message is clear, don’t take drugs and drive.”