More Drug Driving Campaigns
In December 2003 leglislation enabled police to conduct random roadside testing for illicit drugs, including cannabis and methamphetamine with the first drug driving trial was launched in December 2004 throughout Victoria.
Drug driving is a serious road safety issue. In the last five years approximately 37% of all drivers and motorcyclists killed had drugs in their system, with cannabis and stimulants the most common substances detected. About 21% of drivers and motorcyclists killed in 2012 tested positive to THC, the active component of cannabis, or 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.
In July 2006 the government extended the testing program indefinitely and introduced legislation which allowed for the testing of MDMA(ecstasy).
Roadside Drug Testing
Victoria Police have the right to pull drivers over at anytime and test their saliva for traces of illicit drugs including THC, the active component in cannabis, methamphetamine (speed) and ecstasy.
The procedure for random roadside drug testing 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, this takes about 5minutes
*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
*the 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.
If your saliva sample comes back positive, you can be charged.
For a first offence, the authorities can choose to issue an infringement notice or take you to court. If you receive an infringement notice and do not agree with it, you have a time period during which you can choose to go to court, however, if the court finds you guilty, the penalties will beharsher.
Traffic infringement notices are not issued for subsequent drug driving offences. Charges are laid for the offence and the matter is dealt with at court.
Effective 1 July 2013 - 30 June 2014, one penalty unit is$144.84. Refer to the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel for the yearly value of penalty units.
See the VicRoads website for details on drug driving penalties.
Since January 2012 more than 3000 drug tests are conducted each month with a strike rate of 1 in 18 drivers and riders testing positive for illicit drugs.
If you drink and drug drive the effects get stronger.
From August 1, you'll be hit with a fine of $4,550. And if you've been caught before, it might even go up to $40959. You could also lose your car for at least 30 days, which doesn't matter because you'll have no licence for at least 12 months. Then there's the possible shame of having an Alcohol Interlock, in every car you drive, at $1,400 a pop. For more information visit VicRoads website.
Driving under the influence of drugs hasbecome a major focus of police and road safety campaigns over recent years.Like alcohol, many drugs reduce a driver's ability to have full control of amotor vehicle. Drugs have different and profound effects on a person's mood andbehaviour depending on the type of drug involved.
- Safe driving requires:
- clear vision
- physical coordination
- quick reactions
- the ability to make the right decisions under pressure
We have listed below some illegal drugs andtheir effect on driving:
- Cannabis and heroin - can slow down a person's reaction time, distort perception of speed and distance, reduce concentration and coordination when driving.
- Methamphetamine – ecstasy, cocaine and ice - can lead to over-confidence, rash decision making and risk taking, and tiredness caused by an inability to sleep can affect a driver's reflexes and concentration.
- Hallucinogens - effect hearing and sight as well as the perception of time, distance and movement, and they can make a person sense things that don't exist.
- Multiple drug use - using a combination of drugs can lead to extreme and varied effects such as dramatically slowed reaction times, visual distortion, inability to judge speeds and distances, and risk taking.
Visit the Australian Drug Foundation for more information on the specific drugs and their effect on driving.
The TAC's first drug driving campaign was launched in December 2004 - Random Roadside Testing Trial. This campaign was only used in the press, on the radio and outdoor signs. Here the message is plain - not only can you get caught for drink driving, you can get caught for drug driving. The testing trial targetted heavy vehicle drivers, rave party and dance club goers as well as the general motoring public.
December 2006: Booze Buses are now Drug Buses
Here Double Bus opens with a carload of young people driving down a main road at night. The music’s on and they are all pretty mellow. One of the passengers notices a booze bus yet the driver is cool as he has not been drinking. He is pulled over, winds the window down and is given a drink driving test. However the driver is told he will be tested for drugs. All four in the car suddenly panic and the voiceover says ‘Now every booze bus will also be a drugs bus’.
As this was the communication of a trial period for roadside random drug testing activity only press radio and outdoor were used.