This afternoon I was on my treadly heading towards the AIS on the bike path when I noticed the north bound traffic on Gunghalin Drive at a virtual standstill. Upon investigating, I discovered that the cops were conducting a sizeable RBT/other drug testing operation a bit further along the road.
As I’ve previously noted here, the drug testing regime instituted by our council is an ineffectual folly. It doesn’t test for key substances that impair driving (e.g. opiates or benzos) and it doesn’t test whether your driving is actually impaired – it merely alerts the funstoppers that whoever they’ve tested has taken drugs at some point or other (in which case they should re-label the exercise as testing for whether or not people have been using drugs so that they can punish them).
Given my curiosity in the subject, I decided to watch on from a safe distance. What was striking was who was singled out for the special tests, and who just got the run of the mill RBT. After watching for about 15 minutes, I saw about ten drivers asked to give a saliva sample. (I must admit I didn’t count: it could have been eight, it could have been twelve.) Of these drivers, however, all were either young, tradesmen in utes, or both. I think only one was a woman. Of the non-utes, all of the cars were over five years old.
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It was fascinating to watch. The cop closest to the oncoming traffic was essentially responsible for triage. The RBTs were, for the most part, genuinely random. But any buggy that was a bit older, P-plated, or a ute stood virtually no chance of getting past without being pulled in for an RBT. Once the copper had pulled over the offending vehicle he would eyeball the driver when they put the window down, and then make an assessment. I managed to guess whether they’d get an RBT or be asked to mill around and do the saliva sample with a remarkable degree of accuracy.
Regardless of whether what I witnessed was pure coincidence, whether the tactic is fair enough, and whether the cop in question had been instructed to employ it, I thought it worth posting. Any thoughts? Has anyone else witnessed this type of profiling?