Drug-driving could soon exceed drink-driving in Scotland

The number of drug-driving cases in Scotland could soon exceed drink-driving offences, a police regulator has said.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) said reported cases have “far outstripped” estimates.

Last year, the Scottish Government introduced a new zero tolerance limit for drug-driving.


The SPA paper notes that the number of cases “has been considerably higher” than the service provision in place.

The Scottish Government has provided £180,000 additional funding to increase the capacity for testing.

Tom Nelson, Director of Forensic Services, added: “With the number of cases still steadily increasing, this year there could be more than two or three times as many samples for analysis than the original estimated figure and the number of drug-driving cases could soon exceed those for drink-driving.”


The zero tolerance policy in Scotland applies to common illegal drugs – but there is a higher limit for some medicinal drugs before prosecution will follow.

Penalties range from a twelve month driving ban, to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.

Chief Inspector Stephen Innes, of Police Scotland, said the legislation ‘significantly enhances’ the force’s ability to “detect and deter motorists engaging in this extremely risky driving behaviour”.

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