Drug drivers have officially been put on notice.
That’s the advice of the Transport Accident Commission after the Victorian government released a new advertisement of a man driving his grandmother home, when he is pulled over by police.
Earlier in the ad he refused to drink a glass of wine as he was going to ‘drive Gran’, but he is then given a drug test at the roadside stop, which tests positive.
All States have laws making it an offence to operate a vehicle while on drugs.
— TAC (@TACVictoria) April 20, 2017
The slogan ‘More drug tests. More places. More often’ follows revelations that more Victorian drivers are killed while on drugs than affected by alcohol. TAC says in the last five years approximately 41 percent of all drivers and motorcyclists killed who were tested, had drugs in their system. About 18 per cent of drivers and motorcyclists killed in 2015 tested positive to THC, the active component of cannabis. In the past five years, around 13 per cent of riders and drivers killed, who were tested, had anti-depressants in their system and 11 per cent with stimulant/amphetamine type drugs such as ecstasy, speed and ice.
The TAC drug driving campaigns were launched to support random roadside testing of illegal drugs in December 2004. Since then there have been several drug driving campaigns highlighting police enforcement and showing how drugs impair driving.
The advert has already caused a lot of comment, with some asking about the use of medical marijuana and the drug testing, with cannabis and stimulants the most common substances detected during testing. Already there have been cases of medical marijuana users being detected, and being fined. So far there are no plans to amend the driving laws for those who are legally taking the drug.
Police have the right to pull drivers over at any time and test their saliva for traces of illicit drugs. The procedure for random roadside drug testing in Victoria is:
- Drivers are asked to provide a saliva sample by placing a small absorbent pad on their tongue for a few seconds.
- The sample is analysed at the roadside, taking about five minutes.
- Drivers with a positive result are asked to undertake a further test if this test is also positive, the sample is sent to a laboratory for confirmation.
- Results of this lab test form the basis for charging the driver
- Any driver may be asked to take a saliva test at any time.
- The saliva tests do not detect prescription drugs or common medications such as cold and flu tablets.