Drugs rival booze as
Paul Anderson, Herald Sun, (Victoria, Australia) May 31, 2006
ONE driver in 46 has been caught
driving under the influence of cannabis or
methamphetamines, or both, in the past 18 months.
figure is not far off that for drink-driving: one driver
in 54 is over the legal .05 blood alcohol limit.
Victoria Police figures
show the worst offenders were car drivers, followed by
Of 12,538 car drivers
tested, 310 -- one in 40 -- tested positive. Of the 5479
truck drivers, 83 -- one in 66 -- were positive.
Four repeat drug-driving
offenders were detected between December 13, 2004, and May
12 this year.
Assistant Commissioner Noel
Ashby (traffic) said yesterday the figures were not
surprising. And they could rise soon as police became able
to test for ecstasy.
The State Government has
alloted $14.1 million to upgrade seven police booze buses
so they can also test for drugs. And police are to get
another drug-testing bus.
"The figures clearly show
there is an issue of drugs and driving within the
community. There is no question about that now," Mr Ashby
"We knew that a significant
percentage of drivers killed over recent years have had
both methamphetamine and cannabis, and other drugs, in
their system. "The figures perhaps validate what we were
thinking. A lot of it has to do with the areas we target.
Nightclub strips, rave parties and trucking routes are
high-risk locations for the use of drugs.
"We'll continue to target
them while looking at other strategies."
The drug-drive figures
showed that of the 393 drivers who tested positive, 267
were under the influence of methamphetamines, 31 were
affected by cannabis and 95 tested positive to both.
Mr Ashby said cannabis,
like alcohol, inhibited driving skills. Narcotics such as
methamphetamines enhanced drivers' sense of
invulnerability and led to chronic tiredness.