Scotland

Roadside drug tests failed by 185 drivers during festive campaign

"drugalyser" test
Image caption Police started using the "drugalyser" test when new laws came into force at the end of October

Police Scotland say 185 drivers failed roadside drug tests during their festive campaign.

For the first time officers were able to test for drugs at the roadside.

"Drugalyser" tests were used to detect cannabis and cocaine and resulted in 185 positive results out of 480 drivers stopped.

Police said they were disappointed almost 600 motorists breathalysed between 1 Dec and 2 January were under the influence of drink or drugs.

A total of 8,687 drivers were stopped over the period, with 580 of those detected for drink/drug offences.

Of those, 29 drivers were caught the morning after they had been drinking.

Head of road policing Ch Supt Louise Blakelock said: "Over the course of our festive road safety campaign 1 in 15 drivers were detected for drink/drug offences which is extremely disappointing.

'May lose jobs'

"The dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are well known yet some drivers are still willing to take the risk.

"This is the first year we have been able to test drivers at the roadside for drugs.

"Incredibly 16 who tested positive are required to drive as part of their employment and may lose their jobs."

Image caption The drug-driving testing kit uses a mouth swab

A number of drivers were reported to police by colleagues, friends or family members and police thanked those who made the reports. They encouraged the public to continue to report concerning driving behaviour.

Ch Supt Louise Blakelock said: "This information helps our officers to act quickly to stop drivers who are under the influence before they kill or seriously injure someone. We will continue to take action against those who selfishly put others at risk by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our message is simple: the best approach is none."

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf launched the festive drink and drug driving campaign last year

Other incidents highlighted by police were:

  • Staff at the Gyle Shopping Centre in Edinburgh saw man staggering from the premises to his car. The vehicle was traced after it had been crashed. The driver was arrested and found to be almost seven times over the limit.
  • A female driver in the Borders area was found in her car which was upside down having crashed into a field. She was five times over the limit.
  • A female driver in Ayrshire was six times over the limit after she collided with other vehicles on the A77.
  • A male tractor driver was twice the legal limit in Ayrshire after his tractor trailer became detached and collided with three parked vehicles.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "It is staggering that some people are still reckless and selfish enough to take drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car - putting themselves as well as other road users at risk."

More on this story