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Message from Police Scotland: Drug use and Drivers

Drug use, particularly amongst bus, coach and lorry drivers, poses a significant road safety risk with potentially severe consequences for both the driver and operator concerned.

Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or public place with a concentration of one or more of 17 specified drugs present in your body above defined limits. Since October 2019 Police Scotland have been conducting roadside drug tests using the Drug Wipe preliminary roadside device which tests saliva.

Between then and February 2022:-

  • 11712 roadside drug tests were conducted by Police Scotland officers.
  • 5802 (almost 50%) of drivers provided a positive indicative result at the roadside.

If convicted of drug driving, the penalty is a minimum one-year driving ban, a fine of up to £5000 and/or up to 6 months in prison plus a criminal record.

Police Scotland will also inform the Traffic Commissioners of any operator employing an offending driver for their consideration of further regulatory action.

Police Scotland are seeking to aid the industry in pursuing best practice and would be interested to hear about any processes undertaken by bus, coach or lorry operators who have implemented drug driving / testing policies.  Any operator who would like to share information on the implementation and operation of such polices can get in touch at

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