The low number of drug-driving convictions in Scotland could prove that motorists who break the law are failing to be detected, alarming new figures suggest.
The Sunday Herald revealed that just 74 drivers have lost their licences for driving under the influence of drugs since 2015.
In comparison 14,103 drivers were disqualified for the same offence in England and Wales in the same period. Drug-driving limits were introduced in England and Wales in 2015.
The figures were obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
It came just one week after a call was made by a road safety charity for the Scottish Government to introduce stricter laws on drug-driving.
Responding to the figures, Gary Rae, Director of Communications and Campaigns for Brake, said: “Judging from the figures in England and Wales, we could be looking at a significant number of drivers in Scotland who are freely on the road, having taken drugs.
“Scotland led the way in 2015 by lowering their drink-drive limit and we would urge them to build on this and implement new laws on drug-driving. There’s evidence that the law is working in the other nations of the UK and will work in Scotland.”
Currently in Scotland, prosecutors must prove that a person’s driving was “impaired” by the use of drugs to secure a conviction.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at road safety charity IAM Roadsmart, said the figures “show that Scottish police are missing out on a valuable weapon in the fight to make our roads as safe as possible”.
Greig added: “In England roadside drug detection equipment and clear drug limits have allowed police to remove thousands of impaired drivers and crack down on drug-related crime.
“The system is now tried and tested and just waiting to be used north of the border. We simply don’t understand why the Scottish Government is dragging its heels on such an important road safety issue.”
The Scottish Government has previously said: “We are considering very carefully whether evidence shows that specific drug-driving limits should be introduced in Scotland and this consideration will include evaluation of the evidence of the impact of drug-driving limits that have been introduced in England and Wales.”