Roadside drug tests saving Victorian lives

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07 May 2021

Minister for Roads and Roads Safety Media Release

The Victorian Government’s massive investment in roadside drug testing has saved more than 30 lives and almost 80 serious injuries on the state’s roads every year.

A new Monash University Accident Research Centre study has evaluated the impacts of the Labor Government’s $9.8 million investment from 2016-17 to 2018-19 to increase the number of drug tests from 42,000 in 2015 to 100,000 per year from 2017 onwards.

The report found that maintaining the increase to 100,000 drug tests per annum had prevented more than 33 fatalities and nearly 80 serious injuries each year from 2016-2018.

The study also highlights the times and days when alcohol, cannabis and methamphetamine are most likely to be present in drivers who are involved in crashes, and a breakdown of the levels of drugs and alcohol detected.

Drink and drug driving are among the most significant factors in deaths and serious injuries on Victorian roads. In the past five years, 18 per cent of drivers and motorcyclists killed in Victoria had illegal blood alcohol levels, and 41 per cent had drugs, both legal and illegal, in their system.

The data reinforces the critical role enforcement plays in keeping Victorians safe on our roads, and why investment in drug and alcohol tests is vital to reach the Victorian Road Safety Strategy’s ambitious target to halve road deaths and reduce serious injuries by 2030.

Enforcement is one of the strategy’s six focus areas, and will cement a further increase in drug testing every year – deterring people who choose to take drugs and drive – as well as the introduction of new laws and penalties to remove dangerous risk-takers from the roads swiftly.

The increased roadside testing was supported by the Transport Accident Commission as part of its work to enhance road safety enforcement. The MUARC report can be found here.

Quote attributable to Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll

“Any measure that saves Victorian lives on our roads is worth taking – and the evidence could not be clearer that our record investments in drug testing is getting more people home safely every single day.”

Quote attributable to Acting Minister for Police Danny Pearson

“We make no apologies for being tough on drug-drivers – and Victoria Police will continue to work with our road safety agency partners to take dangerous drug-affected drivers off our roads.”

Quote attributable to Transport Accident Commission Acting CEO Liz Cairns

“We have long recognised the critical role enforcement plays in making our roads safe, and we’ll continue to support police to remove drug drivers from our roads.”

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