The Scottish Conservatives are calling for police to be issued with devices which can test whether motorists are under the influence of drugs.
Justice spokesman Bill Aitken said that ‘drugalysers’ were already in use in Australia and on Thursday, he urged the UK Government to ensure similar equipment be made available here.
The move would allow police who already test people’s blood alcohol to also check if they have taken illegal substances before getting behind the wheel.
Mr Aitken said his party had been pressing the Government on the issue for for three years. And he claimed the Conservatives had previously been told the “best case scenario” was that a testing kit would be available by the end of 2007.
However, he said: “Two years later nothing has happened.”
He demanded: “The sooner this equipment is available for use in Scotland, the better it will be for the safety of everyone on our roads.”
Mr Aitken said there had been a significant change in public attitudes towards drink driving, but insisted action will have to be taken if the public attitude towards drug driving is to move in the same direction.
He continued: “The existing system for dealing with drug drivers is laborious, involving road side tests where the suspect is asked to walk in a straight line and do mental arithmetic. If it results in an arrest, the police vehicle is off the road whilst the police surgeon is summoned and this can take two hours.
“The Westminster Government must ensure the appropriate technology, similar to the breathalyser apparatus used in drink-driving cases, is available for roadside drug testing. Drug-driving is in many respects now more serious than drink-driving.”