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LISTEN: Highest number of drug driving offences over the festive season recorded in the Highlands

By Federica Stefani

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A police officer with a breathalyser.
A police officer with a breathalyser.

A new police report shows that the Highlands recorded the highest number of drug driving offences across Scotland in December.

According to results from Police Scotland’s annual festive drink and drug driving campaign, 48 drivers were found to to be driving while under the influence of drugs.

This is the highest number of offences of this type recorded in one police division, followed by Lanarkshire (38), Greater Glasgow (31) and the North East (30).

It comes as recent figures revealed that the Highlands are one of the worst hot -spots for drink driving, with 600 people were caught drink-driving in the 2022-23 year.


The number of drink/drug driving offences recorded across the Highland and Islands police division was the third highest in Scotland – after Lanarkshire (109), Greater Glasgow (107).

Driving with blood alcohol content above the prescribed limit and failure to provide breath, blood or urine specimen at police station were among other offences recorded (19 and 8 respectively across the region).

The campaign, which took place from the start of December 2023 to January 2 this year saw an increase of 21 per cent in tests being carried out Scotland-wide compared to the previous year.

Chief Superintendent Hilary Sloan, head of road policing, said: “We are relentless against drivers who choose to take alcohol or drugs and put the safety of others at risk.

“The Christmas and New Year period brings a focus on this type of offending and the work carried out by officers to deter and detect drink and drug driving will continue throughout the year, alongside our road safety partnerships.

“I would like to thank everyone who did the right thing by contacting Police Scotland to tell us about potential offenders and I would encourage people to keep reporting. Intelligence-led activity is a vital part of what we do and you could save a life.

“The influence people can have on their family and friends who might be considering driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs can be crucial.

“We all have a responsibility to improve road safety.”

The proactive work took place across Scotland as officers responded to concerns, carried out targeted patrols and organised road checks.

There were 3,219 breath tests (2,568 in 2022) and 481 drug wipes (481 in 2022).

Detected offences increased by 15 per cent, from 722 in 2022 to 831 in 2023.

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