The covid-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s lives and driving habits, and it probably won’t be a normal ‘summer’ (if we can call it that in Scotland). But remember, the drug-driving rules haven’t changed. So, however you’re spending the months ahead; don’t drive under the influence of drugs.

It stops your body working properly. It is a criminal offence. And the effects on people’s lives can be devastating.

Driving under the influence of drugs

Since 21 October 2019, Police Scotland is able to carry out immediate roadside testing for any driver they suspect of drug-driving. So, don’t drive under the influence of drugs; Drive Smart.

Drug-driving is a criminal offence, and police authorities have the ability to test for the presence of drugs with a Roadside Drug Wipe.

Even drivers that pass the test can still be arrested if police think their driving is impaired.

The test

Police in Scotland can carry out immediate roadside testing using a ‘Drug Wipe’.

Drivers found to be under the influence of drugs will be arrested and taken to a nearby police station where a blood sample will be required which will be subject to subsequent laboratory analysis.



Drive Smart. Drug-driving is a criminal offence. It’s just as dangerous as drink driving and you face equally tough penalties – even if it’s your first offence:

  • 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

Is it really worth the risk?

Reporting drug-driving

If you see someone getting into their car to drive after taking drugs, you should take action.

Suggest that they choose an alternative way of getting where they’re going, or if you are in any doubt over their safety to drive, phone the police. Before dialling the police, make sure you have noted:

  • The car registration number
  • A description of the person
  • A description of the vehicle
  • The location

Did you know?

  • Most drugs stay in your system longer than alcohol – traces of some drugs will still show up in blood tests after 4-5 days.
  • Exactly how long a drug remains in your system depends on the type of drug and variables like your age, weight, hydration levels and drug tolerance. Some heavy drug users will always have drugs in their system.
  • Remember, it’s an offence to drive with any controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood, even if they have been prescribed for you. Prescription AND over-the-counter drugs can affect your ability to drive. If you’re taking medicine and not sure whether you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or a healthcare professional.
  • Taking alcohol and drugs together is even worse, as their effects combine and the risk can be multiplied. Even low levels of alcohol mixed with low levels of drugs can cause significant danger. The best approach is none.
  • It’s your responsibility to consider whether you believe your driving is, or might be, impaired on any given occasion, for example if you feel sleepy.
  • Since lockdown, there’s more cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders on the road. Don’t put them at risk by drug-driving

This summer, imagine Gran’s watching.