It's time to stop drug driving

It's time to stop drug driving

It may come as a shock but there are now more drug drivers on our roads than drink drivers.

People who drive with illegal drugs in their system are putting everyone in danger on our roads. That’s why Police are conducting more roadside drug driving tests in all metropolitan and regional areas.

Even if you feel okay, drug driving tests can detect it. So if you drive before drugs have cleared your system, you will be caught.

Driving Impairment

Driving Impairment

Studies show that illicit drugs impair the skills needed to operate a motor vehicle safely because they affect coordination, reaction time, muscles, vision and the ability to judge distance and speed.

 

In the case of marijuana, thinking and reflexes are slowed, making it hard for a driver to respond to sudden, unexpected events. The lack of ability to brake quickly, stay in a lane, maintain correct speed and proper distance between cars, greatly increases the risk of a serious accident.

 

Methamphetamines can cause lapses of attention, disorientation, a lack of coordination and overconfidence in driving skills. The latter leading to increased risk taking and aggressive driving, which is extremely dangerous. As the effects wear off, drowsiness and fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability and depression may continue to impair driving ability.

 

Roadside Testing

Roadside Testing

Police can randomly stop you any time, anywhere in South Australia and test you for illicit drugs. Roadside drug tests can detect the active ingredient in Cannabis, Ecstasy, Speed, Ice or Crystal vMeth. Unlike with alcohol testing, the volume of the drug in the system cannot be detected but since there is a zero tolerance to illegal drugs, presence results in prosecution.

The drug testing device is able to detect THC (Cannabis) for at least 5 hours after use. This may be even longer depending on the amount and potency of the cannabis taken and the individual’s metabolic rate.

Methylamphetamine (Speed, Ice or Crystal Meth) and MDMA (Ecstasy) can be detected for at least 24 hours after use. Again, the exact time will vary depending on the size of the dose, other drugs taken at the same time, as well the individual’s metabolism.

When undergoing a drug driving test, you will be required to wipe the testing device over your tongue to obtain a sample of your saliva. The test takes about 5 minutes and if the result is positive you will be required to provide a further oral fluid sample for analysis in a drug bus or at a police station. If your test is negative, you'll be free to go.

Drug Driving Statistics

Drug Driving Statistics

South Australia is the nation’s leader in drug driving enforcement, conducting more tests per capita than any other state or territory.

Between 2010 and 2014, 21% of drivers/riders killed in road accidents had the presence of illegal street drugs in their system. 

In 2014, drugs overtook alcohol in the implication in fatalities.

70% of drug related fatal crashes happen in regional South Australia.

Males aged between 20 – 39 are most frequently killed in drug driving related accidents but the issue is still significant among males in their 40s and 50s.

The most commonly detected drug is Methylamphetamine followed by THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and THC in combination with Methylamphetamine.

THC and a combination of THC and alcohol are the most frequently present elements in road fatalities.

Drug driving related fatalities most frequently occur in the evening although many still happen throughout the day.

The most common type of crash is hitting a fixed object such as tree, stobie pole, stationary vehicle or property.

Drug Driving Penalties

Drug Driving Penalties

If you test positive for drugs whilst driving, or attempting to drive a vehicle, you will be penalised.

DRIVING WITH ILLICIT DRUG IN ORAL FLUID OR BLOOD (section 47BA of the Road Traffic Act 1961);
First offence $563 expiation fee + $60; and 4 demerit points OR Court penalty – a fine of not less than $900 and not more than $1300; and 4 demerit points
Second offence Court penalty – a fine of not less than $1100 and not more than $1600; and4 demerit points; and Licence disqualification - not less than six months
Third offence Court penalty – a fine of not less than $1,500 and not more than $2,200; and 4 demerit points; and Licence disqualification - not less than 12 months
Subsequent offences Court penalty – a fine of not less than $1,500 and not more than $2,200; and 4 demerit points; and Licence disqualification - not less than 2 years

Penalites also apply to drivers who refuse or fail to undertake a drug screening test, oral fluid analysis or blood test when required to do so by a police officer.

REFUSAL OR FAILURE TO UNDERTAKE A DRUG SCREENING TEST, ORAL FLUID ANALYSIS OR BLOOD TEST
First offence Court penalty – a fine of not less than $900 and not more than $1,300; and 6 demerit points; and Licence disqualification – not less than 6 months
Subsequent offences Court penalty – a fine of not less than $1,500 and not more than $2,200; and 4 demerit points; and Licence disqualification - not less than 2 years

For more information go to the Road Traffic Act 1961, section 47BA

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