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Registered: 07/26/04
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One in 73 drivers on drugs [AU]
    #4061356 - 04/16/05 02:58 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

One in 73 drivers on drugs
April 15, 2005

AUSTRALIA's world-first roadside drug tests are catching drivers out at three times the rate of the long-established booze buses.

Four months into Victoria's year-long trial of the drug test, police say one in every 73 motorists is testing positive to drugs.

The ratio of drivers returning positive results was three times higher than for those breathtested for alcohol, Police Minister Tim Holding said.

"I am concerned and surprised that so many Victorians are taking drugs and concerned, surprised and disappointed that so many are then getting in a vehicle and attempting to drive it," he said.

Assistant Commissioner Bob Hastings said the results showed there was a lot of work to be done to change drivers' attitudes.

"It took us 30 years to change attitudes about drink-driving," he said.

"We are going to have to tackle the same issues to bring about that cultural shift to say that driving with these sorts of illicit drugs in your system is not responsible."

Since the launch of the world's first roadside saliva drug tests, 4619 drivers have been tested with 63 returning positive results.

A police drug bus has been pulling over motorists since December last year and testing saliva samples for cannabis and methamphetamines.

Positive results are tested again by laboratories and, if they are confirmed, drivers face fines of $307 and the loss of three demerit points for a first offence.

The tests got off to a controversial start when the first man to return a positive roadside test was later cleared by laboratory tests.

Mr Hastings said police had learnt from the episode and were confident in the accuracy of the tests.

"We went back and we revisited the way we operated these devices, we brought the manufacturer in, we brought the experts in, we went through a whole re-evaluation of our process and we have now got it right," he said.

Mr Hastings said there had been interest in Victoria's program from New Zealand police and from authorities across Australia.

In March, New South Wales Police launched a roadside drug-testing trial and the Tasmanian and South Australian governments have promised to introduce legislation to allow police to carry out the tests.

RACV spokesman Ken Ogden said Victoria's testing system had strong support from motorists.

Mr Ogden said studies had shown more than 30 per cent of drivers killed on Victoria's roads had a drug other than alcohol in their system.

The Government now had to follow its random testing campaign with a public awareness campaign to get the message across to drivers, he said.

Opposition police spokesman Kim Wells said the testing regime should be expanded across the state so it was not only a deterrent but an effective way of getting dangerous drivers off the road.

Mr Holding said all aspects of the tests would be reviewed at the end of the 12-month trial.

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Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 394
Loc: MA and IA
Last seen: 8 years, 1 month
Re: One in 73 drivers on drugs [AU] [Re: veggie]
    #4463828 - 07/28/05 11:13 AM (12 years, 10 months ago)

sorry to resurrect like this, but i missed this one the first time around and i am absolutely fascinated by this article. so i thought i would give it a bump so it can fascinate others as well.

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fuck this site
Registered: 05/13/04
Posts: 11,945
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Re: One in 73 drivers on drugs [AU] [Re: sander]
    #4464580 - 07/28/05 03:02 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

"drivers face fines of $307 and the loss of three demerit points for a first offence."

3 demerit points? holy fuck. assholes...

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