Police will be on the roads tonight using a custom-built drug testing bus to crack down on people driving while under the influence of drugs.
Community Safety and Police Minister John Kobelke said the drug bus was part of the State Government’s continuing campaign against unsafe drivers and the road toll.
“We plan for the drug bus to have the same impact as random roadside testing for alcohol when it was introduced in 1988,” Mr Kobelke said.
“We are seeing more drivers, particularly those involved in serious and fatal accidents, who had alcohol and drugs, or both, in their system.
“Research shows 28 per cent of drivers and riders involved in a fatal crash had a drug other than alcohol in their bodies at the time of the crash.
“Drivers should make no mistake - if they use illicit drugs and drive, they will be caught.”
The Minister said the bus would be able to conduct roadside saliva tests which detected illegal drugs such as cannabis, speed and ecstasy. These tests would not detect the presence of prescription drugs, common over the counter medication or ADHD medication.
Driving with a prescribed illicit drug in a person’s saliva or blood would attract fines similar to those established for 0.05 blood alcohol content offences. They ranged from $200 and three demerit points for a first offence, up to a $500 and three months’ licence suspension for a third and subsequent offences.
If police stopped a driver on the suspicion that they were driving impaired by drugs, penalties would be severe.
Penalties for driving while impaired by a drug would be the same as those established for the offence of ‘driving under the influence of alcohol’, which ranged from $800 and six months’ licence disqualification for a first offence, up to $5,000 or 18 months’ imprisonment and a permanent licence disqualification for a third or subsequent offences.
Mr Kobelke said giving police the power to test a person for drugs in their system would help reduce the number of impaired drivers who were endangering the community.
Minister's office - 9222 9211