Scotland's Road Safety Framework

Drug driving (illicit/medicinal) contributed to four deaths on Scotland’s roads in 2019.

A further 19 people were seriously injured and 30 slightly injured on Scotland’s roads in 2019 as a result of drug driving.

2nd August marks Police Scotland’s national Drug Driving Week. Transport Scotland are fully committed to supporting this, to help to reduce drug driving on Scotland’s roads. Eradicating drug driving is essential to achieving Vision Zero, where no-one is killed on our roads.

On 21st October 2019, roadside drug testing was introduced in Scotland – further strengthening road safety laws. Police Scotland can now test road users immediately at the road side using the ‘Drug Wipe’. A positive test will result in being arrested and taken to a Police Station where a blood test will be required which will be subject to subsequent laboratory analysis.

The new legislation has significantly enhanced the power of Scotland’s police and prosecutors to tackle drivers engaging in extremely risky driving behaviour. This minority of people irresponsibly put themselves and other road-users at risk.

There is a zero-tolerance approach to the eight drugs most associated with illegal use. This includes; cannabis, heroin and cocaine. The limits are set at a level where any claims of accidental exposure can be ruled out.

Drug driving also includes drugs that have been prescribed to you. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs/medicine can have an effect on your ability to drive. Please consult your doctor, pharmacist or a healthcare professional if you are taking prescribed drugs and/or medicine that could have an effect on your driving.

A list of other drugs associated with medical use will have limits based on impairment and risk to road safety.


Similarly to drink driving, drug driving has equally tough penalties, even if it is your first offence. Being caught driving or riding whilst under the influence through drugs can lead to;

  • A minimum 12-month driving ban
  • 3-11 penalty points on your driving licence
  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • An unlimited fine
  • An offence which stays on your licence for 11 years
  • A criminal record for a lengthy period of time
  • Potential loss of your vehicle

Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drugs will result in a maximum 14-year jail sentence and a minimum driving ban of two years

Further information on the effects drug driving (including alcohol) can be found on the following section of our website:

Drug and Drink Driving | Scotlands Road Safety Framework