Drink and drug driving laws kick off tomorrow

johnboy 12 May 2011 47

Territory And Municipal Services are advising that new drink and drug driving laws are coming into effect tomorrow.

The stuff on drug driving is particularly new and goes like this:

What about drug driving?

— The ACT Legislative Assembly passed new laws to permit roadside drug testing of motorists for the presence of cannabis, methamphetamine and ecstasy.
— Police are now conducting random drug testing operations in the ACT.

What is the process for drug testing?

— Drug testing is a three-step process. The first step is an oral fluid (saliva) screening test, usually conducted at the roadside using a disposable testing device.
— If this test is positive, you will be required to provide a sample of saliva for analysis. This sample will be divided into two parts.
— One part will be analysed immediately by an oral fluid analysis instrument and the other part will be sent to a laboratory for confirmatory analysis.
— If the laboratory analysis confirms that a drug is present, you will be prosecuted for a drug driving offence.
If you cannot provide enough oral fluid for analysis, you may be required to give a blood sample for analysis.

What are the penalties for drug driving?

— The maximum penalty for drug driving is a fine of 10 penalty units for a first offence, or 25 penalty units and up to 3 months imprisonment for a repeat offender.
— A court can also order a period of licence disqualification.
— It is an offence to leave the test area before testing is complete and it is also an offence to refuse a drug test.

Where do I go if I need help to address drug use and driving issues?

— The ACT Department of Health’s Alcohol and Drug Program 24 Hour Intake and Helpline can assist in referring drug drivers with drug dependence issues to treatment providers. Please select the following link: ACT Health
— One phone call is all it takes to access help – the phone number is 6207 9977.


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47 Responses to Drink and drug driving laws kick off tomorrow
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gazket gazket 9:54 pm 28 Nov 11

luckily if caught drug driving you can go to Canberra jail and shoot up safely and get free tattoos. yeah !!!

ex-vectis ex-vectis 9:13 pm 28 Nov 11

Yep, throwing my hat into the ‘How stupid’ ring. As most folk on here, I’m all in favour of laws that help reduce road accidents. If there was a roadside drug test that showed how much THC/CBC/Opiates/Etc was in the person and there was a strict scientific limit – as per Alcohol – then I’d wear sandwich-boards outside the Legislature calling for the test. But to charge someone if they had a fat-one 48 hours ago is just politians gone crazy. But remember, we voted for them.

maybe the lunatics really are taking over the asylum.

Tooks Tooks 8:35 pm 28 Nov 11

Adarian said :

Civil Liberties A.C.T tested the swab tests and found them to be around 78% accurate with a high count of false positives and false negatives…… Random Drug Testing is a violation of your Human Rights and Civil Liberties…… Innocent Until Proven Guilty…… Pedophiles are more protected than road users….

What a load of crap. Where’s your source for that?

Adarian Adarian 7:08 pm 28 Nov 11

Civil Liberties A.C.T tested the swab tests and found them to be around 78% accurate with a high count of false positives and false negatives…… Random Drug Testing is a violation of your Human Rights and Civil Liberties…… Innocent Until Proven Guilty…… Pedophiles are more protected than road users….

p1 p1 12:22 pm 19 May 11

fgzk said :

P1 “On many over the counter products it actually says “May cause drowsiness, if affected do not operate machinery…”, the implication being that you may or may not experience those side effects. “

Much the same as say pot may, or may not, effect your driving ability to the point of being a threat to others. Yet if we follow the same logic being applied to the present drug laws the effect of the drug on your driving is less important than the actual presence of the drug. If the warning appears on the bottle then it should be illegal to drive.

I assume you are supporting a zero BAC since any alcohol impairs you? And that all drivers keep a signed a witnessed logbook of how much they work and sleep, since fatigue impairs you? And lets not forget removing all phones, GPS’s and radios from cars, and binding and gagging and children, since distraction is a major cause of road accidents?

Police can get away with the ol’ “any pot is baaaddd…” approach because it is illegal anyway. If they try and introduce an “any codeine is baaadddd…” approach then pharmacies will have to change the way they sell the stuff.

fgzk fgzk 12:07 pm 19 May 11

P1 “On many over the counter products it actually says “May cause drowsiness, if affected do not operate machinery…”, the implication being that you may or may not experience those side effects. “

Much the same as say pot may, or may not, effect your driving ability to the point of being a threat to others. Yet if we follow the same logic being applied to the present drug laws the effect of the drug on your driving is less important than the actual presence of the drug. If the warning appears on the bottle then it should be illegal to drive.

p1 p1 11:49 am 19 May 11

fgzk said :

If it says on the bottle “do not operate machinery”, then regardless of what the testing officer suspects you should be tested and charged with the same zero tolerance as say pot smokers.

On many over the counter products it actually says “May cause drowsiness, if affected do not operate machinery…”, the implication being that you may or may not experience those side effects.

As to the opiates, I failed a drug test once because of over the counter codeine based pills giving a positive, and had to give a sample for proper lab testing to determine exactly what I was on. But I was under the impression that opiates were not on the list the ACT Police are testing for, since smack addicts are not a danger on the roads like those evil pot smokers.

fgzk fgzk 11:42 am 19 May 11

wildturkeycanoe said :

Cheap – A lot of OTC drugs have psuedoephedrine [amphetamine ingredient] and codeine apparently converts to morphine and may test positive for opiates. The web advice from police on prescription drugs is that you can be found guilty for drug driving if the officer “suspects” you are impaired – exactly how they determine this I have no clue. That’s a big loose end and cause for alarm for regular medicine users, or anyone who falls ill for that matter.

The only loose end is that a large number of drugs that cause impairment are not tested for. If it says on the bottle “do not operate machinery”, then regardless of what the testing officer suspects you should be tested and charged with the same zero tolerance as say pot smokers.

Thumper Thumper 11:30 am 19 May 11

codeine apparently converts to morphine and may test positive for opiates,/i>

Yes it does, but only 5-10%.

So no, you won’t test positive to opiates.

LeatherJen LeatherJen 11:19 am 19 May 11

Felix the Cat said :

You people seem to be forgetting one small factor. It’s actually illegal to consume ANY quantity of these drugs, let alone drive under the influence of them so I think it’s irrelevant that some of them can be detected in your system x days later. If you don’t want to be busted for illict drugs then DON”T TAKE THEM!

Exactly. It’s the same as with speed cameras. Regardless of the arguments around safety you know it’s illegal so if you’re caught you have no one to blame but yourself.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 6:19 am 19 May 11

Cheap – A lot of OTC drugs have psuedoephedrine [amphetamine ingredient] and codeine apparently converts to morphine and may test positive for opiates. The web advice from police on prescription drugs is that you can be found guilty for drug driving if the officer “suspects” you are impaired – exactly how they determine this I have no clue. That’s a big loose end and cause for alarm for regular medicine users, or anyone who falls ill for that matter.

Jethro Jethro 9:47 pm 18 May 11

Felix the Cat said :

You people seem to be forgetting one small factor. It’s actually illegal to consume ANY quantity of these drugs, let alone drive under the influence of them so I think it’s irrelevant that some of them can be detected in your system x days later. If you don’t want to be busted for illict drugs then DON”T TAKE THEM!

It’s not irrelevant at all. There is a vast difference in the severity of the two crimes. It is true that a person who smokes a joint on the weekend is guilty of an offence, but it is not an offence of the same magnitude as that of a person who drives under the influence of drugs. To have a drug driving conviction against your name if you were not actually drug driving would be a pretty terrible thing to have happen to you.

Cheap Cheap 9:37 pm 18 May 11

wildturkeycanoe said :

No, not unless they contain cannabis, methamphetamine or ecstasy.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 9:27 pm 18 May 11

Can anyone tell me, do the prescription and OTC drugs provide positive results – ie. if you take Nurofen, Panadeine Forte, hayfever pills or cough medicine, does that mean you could get done for drug driving while taking innocent and lawful medications? If so, I’ll probably be taking a LOT of time off work from now on.

PBO PBO 9:09 pm 17 May 11

Solidarity said :

I’d rather someone under the effects of Ecstacy or Cocaine behind the wheel than that of someone under the effects of Marijuana/Alcohol….

The only person that i would feel safe behind the wheel with would be the pot smoker as they would be calm and in no hurry. The person on ecstacy would be very easily distracted as would the cocaine user who would be driving fast and in an aggressive manner. And i shouldnt have to explain the drunk behind the wheel. But thats just my opinion.

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 4:55 pm 13 May 11

You people seem to be forgetting one small factor. It’s actually illegal to consume ANY quantity of these drugs, let alone drive under the influence of them so I think it’s irrelevant that some of them can be detected in your system x days later. If you don’t want to be busted for illict drugs then DON”T TAKE THEM!

Calamity Calamity 4:40 pm 13 May 11

I’d like to throw my hat in the ‘This is truly ridiculous’ ring. Can’t understand how this could possibly work – if they’re going to charge everyone they catch who has partaken in a spliff in the last ___ days, they’re going to have half of Canberra off the roads before too long. And not even because they’re actually under the influence at all! This makes ZERO sense to me.

Solidarity Solidarity 4:26 pm 13 May 11

I’d rather someone under the effects of Ecstacy or Cocaine behind the wheel than that of someone under the effects of Marijuana/Alcohol….

SgtSlaughter SgtSlaughter 4:05 pm 13 May 11

At this stage there are only 2 count that 2 police Officers that have been cleared to do these tests, apparently it is quite difficult to put a cotton swab in someones mouth and then place in a tube which contains a reactant, if it turns brown?? your stuffed and then off for more thorough test.

dvaey dvaey 3:22 pm 13 May 11

mooo_cow said :

It amazes me how the ACT Government can introduce this legislation (and include Cannabis) based around an inaccurate testing method that can not determine the difference between an impaired driver that may have smoked two hours ago or an unpaired driver that smoked two days ago.

Surely they were aware of this from their advisors; it would make for an interesting FOI request.

Im fairly sure other states have had this issue and that there was a previous RA thread about this issue. Im also fairly sure that this isnt the first time the legislation has tried to be passed in the ACT and in the past it has been rejected for exactly those reasons (unable to determine impairment). What it will all boil down to is whether a high priced lawyer can find a loophole in the law. If the police are smart theyll only bother setting up drug testing units in high risk areas at high risk times, rather than setting up for drug testing on a monday morning rush hour to catch those who smoked over the weekend.

Personally Im more worried about drivers hyped up on caffeine, energy drinks and other prescription drugs than I am about a couple of stoners driving a bit slow in the left hand lane.

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