Scotland's Road Safety Framework

December marks Police Scotland’s Festive Drink and Drug Drive campaign. Transport Scotland are fully committed to supporting this, to help to reduce the risks on Scotland’s roads. Eradicating drink and drug driving is essential to achieving Vision Zero, where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.

The four biggest dangers whilst driving/riding have been commonly identified as the fatal four, with impairment through drink and drugs being one. Reducing the number of people who use the roads while impaired through drink or drugs remains a priority in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030, which embeds the Safe System approach.

Safe Road Use is one of the five pillars of the Safe System and advocates that safe road use is achieved from road users who know and comply with road rules and take responsibility for the safety of themselves and others. Being a ‘safe road user’ includes not driving or riding while impaired through drink and/or drugs.

Offences Detected During Last Year’s Festive Campaign

Drink and drug driving is still an area for concern on Scotland’s roads. During Police Scotland’s festive campaign last year more than 600 motorists were detected for drink/drug drive offences.

The campaign, which ran between 1 December 2021 and 3 January 2022, officers carried out 2,965 roadside tests. Overall, 628 drivers were detected for drink or drug driving offences.


Drink Driving Stat

In 2021, there were 48 people killed and seriously injured (4 and 44 respectively) who were involved in accidents where at least one of the drivers was positive or refused a breath test.

Drug Driving Stat

The police do not record whether drivers tested positive for drugs for STATS 19 purposes. Though, we do know whether drugs are likely to have contributed to a collision. In 2021, there were 28 killed and seriously injured (5 and 23 respectively) where drugs use was likely to have been a contributory factor in the collisions.

However, Police Scotland do record the number of offences of driving under the influence which can be found on page 56 on the following link:

What has been implemented in Scotland to tackle drink and drug driving?


Drink driving:


In Scotland on the 5th December 2014, legislation came into effect lowering the drink-driving limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood; with equivalent changes to the limits in breath or urine. This brought Scotland in line with the majority of other European countries. This meant Scotland was, and is now, firmly leading the way across the UK.

Drug-driving limits:


On the 21st of October 2019, drug-driving limits and roadside testing were introduced in Scotland – further strengthening road safety laws. The new legislation has significantly enhanced the power of Scotland’s police and prosecutors to tackle drivers engaging in extremely risky driving behaviour.

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.

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

The consequences

Driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road, or other public place, while being unfit to drive through drink or drugs, is an offence.

Drivers can still be over the limit the following morning if they have been drinking heavily, or late at night. This means it can be illegal to drive even if you haven’t had a drink that day.

What we can all do to avoid drink and drug driving:

  • Don’t guess how much you have had to drink. If in doubt don’t drink or don’t drive
  • Be aware that you may still be over the limit after a good night’s sleep
  • Don’t get in a car where you suspect the driver is over the limit
  • Don’t take drugs and drive – including some prescription drugs which may cause drowsiness

Police Scotland’s Campaign Video: