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Roadside drug testing comes ever closer

By johnboy - 5 May 2010 158

The Liberal’s Jeremy Hanson is celebrating in principle support in the Legislative Assembly for his Random Roadside Drug Testing bill.

Apparently this is going to build on the “success” of the Victorian legislation in this area.

So what other random searches shall we start up in ever more panicked fear of ourselves?

What’s Your opinion?


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Roadside drug testing comes ever closer
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georgesgenitals 7:57 pm 08 May 10

Jim Jones said :

WTF are you talking about? Speeding contributes measurably to road deaths.

Could you drop the whole ‘speeding blah blah blah gummint blah blah blah’ crap for just one thread?

I know its a bit off topic, but why is it that when NT introduced a speed limit to the major north-south highway, deaths increased.

The point that I am making is that there are some topics where RiotACT posters seem to critically debate, and others where they sprout nothing but rhetoric.

And then there are posters like you, Jim Jones, who launch personal attcks when they disagree, then run away when shown to be wrong (eg the recent post on government housing).

How about we kick it up a notch, and debate the issue? Is it really that hard?

Voice of Reason 9:27 am 08 May 10

johnboy said :

To be fair to Mr Stanhope, he’s been doing all he can to kill this off.

Wanna bet?

Jim Jones 9:52 am 07 May 10

georgesgenitals said :

Call me crazy, but in this thread we have a lot of people posting comments that basically say ‘let’s work out if this actually contributes to road safety’, yet everytime speeding is brought up, we seem to get rabid rhetoric about ‘it’s the law’ and ‘the safety of my family’, etc.

Doesn’t add up. I suspect many of us are falling victim to fear-based advertising.

If govco could find a way to levy fines and raise revenue from drug testing, I bet they would.

WTF are you talking about? Speeding contributes measurably to road deaths.

Could you drop the whole ‘speeding blah blah blah gummint blah blah blah’ crap for just one thread?

Voice of Reason 8:24 am 07 May 10

http://www.scribd.com/doc/16627783/The-Policy-Context-of-Roadside-Drug-Testing

Here’s a piece published in the Journal of the Australasian College or Road Safety. Pretty damning analysis for the government’s proposal.

Of course it won’t stop Stanhope ‘cos his mind’s made up already.

Mr Stanhope. Consultation that occurs after you’ve made up your mind is not consultation at all. It’s a waste of everybody’s time and government resources.

    johnboy 8:32 am 07 May 10

    To be fair to Mr Stanhope, he’s been doing all he can to kill this off.

fgzk 6:59 am 07 May 10

So with all these issues it becomes clear that this legislation is actual about punishing drug users for their drug issues. Its a mass drug testing system to identify and punish drug users. You know the stuff that goes with DUI but worse. Loss of job. Life long record. People labelling you scum bag. General discrimination you would expect for being charged with drug offences.

and it will allow more drunk drivers to slip the net and be killing people on the roads.

georgesgenitals 10:21 pm 06 May 10

Call me crazy, but in this thread we have a lot of people posting comments that basically say ‘let’s work out if this actually contributes to road safety’, yet everytime speeding is brought up, we seem to get rabid rhetoric about ‘it’s the law’ and ‘the safety of my family’, etc.

Doesn’t add up. I suspect many of us are falling victim to fear-based advertising.

If govco could find a way to levy fines and raise revenue from drug testing, I bet they would.

OpenYourMind 8:23 pm 06 May 10

The affect of Blood Alcohol Content is very clear and quantifiable.

The affect of cannabis use on driving is a very interesting topic.
Here’s a Monash report: http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/reports/muarc231.pdf

There’s a study that was done in South Australia and then quickly buried that indicated cannabis users were in fact safer drivers than those with no drugs in their system.

Here’s an interesting quote
“STUDIES had found it impossible to prove cannabis adversely affected driving, an Adelaide University researcher said yesterday.

Professor Jack Maclean, director of the road accident research unit, said, while there was no doubt alcohol affected driving adversely, that was not the case with marijuana.

“It has been impossible to prove marijuana affects driving adversely,” he told the Australian Driver Fatigue Conference in Sydney.

“There is no doubt marijuana affects performance but it may be it affects it in a favourable way by reducing risk-taking.”

hax 8:17 pm 06 May 10

So all the ‘druggies’ are going to be catching buses and hanging around bus interchanges now? 😉

Voice of Reason 7:57 pm 06 May 10

Special G said :

That’s some interesting comments Mr voice of reason although part of your reasoning is fairly flawed. Drug testing would be administered by the same Police administering breath screening. General Duties and traffic for the most part.

Also given that possession of all of the drugs tested for is an offence in itself it is like catching you for possession after you took them. Basically what it is saying is taking drugs are bad mmkay.

Thanks for your comments SG.

It stands to reason that the opportunity cost of police performing two tests on one driver will be the capacity to perform one test on two drivers. Quite simply, in order to test people for some drugs they’ll be alcohol breath testing fewer drivers.

There is credible evidence that alcohol breath testing works. It makes roads safer. There is no credible evidence that roadside testing for some drugs makes roads safer.

You are quite correct of course, that possession of illicit drugs is illegal. Taking drugs is probably bad for many people who take them too. However this government is on record as saying that this policy is about road safety, and not punishing drug users for their drug issues. It stands to reason therefore that roadside testing for some drugs should be implemented or scrapped on the merits of its demonstrated impact on road safety.

It is simply not acceptable that someone can be convicted of drug driving when they were driving without the slightest impairment. This policy will bring about convictions that are not warranted.

If your point is valid, and that any detectable amount of some drugs is cause for conviction because the person was committing an offence when they took said drugs, then let’s dispense with the roadside aspect altogether and simply start testing people for drugs. The police could set up testing stations in Garema Place or anywhere else and then simply start screening people. Sure, it won’t be a road safety initiative, but they shouldn’t have been taking the drugs anyway so fine details like that won’t matter ‘cos we’re tough on drugs afterall.

OpenYourMind 7:56 pm 06 May 10

Sloppery, it depends on what you are trying to acheive. If it’s road safety, then the legality of the drug makes no difference to its affect. A trace amount of weed or ecstasy is unlikely to make any significant difference whereas legal sleeping medications as well as a host of others are well known for their affect on driving ability. Getting hit by someone impaired by a legal drug will hurt just the same.

If you want to randomly test people for drug use, that’s another matter altogether. Just don’t wrap it up as a road safety measure unless you can associate it with a fair test of level of intoxication.

p1 7:03 pm 06 May 10

Yes, but some drugs are ILLEGAL…

Driving while adversely affected by legal medication is illegal too…

Beau Locks 7:03 pm 06 May 10

+1 Voice of Reason. Most sensible comments. In this day and age of ‘evidence based policy’, we should really be asking two things every time we roll out a new bit of policy: what is the policy trying to achieve, and how do we measure the efficacy of same?

If roadside drug testing is aimed at reducing harm on our roads, shouldn’t it be testing for intoxication, not the residual presence of a drug in someone’s system? The tools at the disposal of cops in other jurisdictions do not provide any degree of accuracy. (If we’re just aiming to test people to see whether they’ve used drugs, shouldn’t this be targeted at a whole of population level, to make the roll-out fair? Which begs the question: what the fark would be the point of bothering with such a venture?)

Where is the evidence base for this type of policy? In Victoria and South Australia there’s no data that I’m aware of. Could this be because their politicians and cops are just as aware as anyone else with a few neurons to rub together that any evalutation would show that the policy is expensive and ineffective? Given limited resources, I would have thought that focusing on dickhead driving (as opposed to very the very quantitative methodology behind the installation of speed cameras everywhere) might be more effective.

This is lowest common denominator ‘A Current Affair’ politics, and is a low point even by the piss-weak standards of the chiefly one and his band of fools in the local council.

Pork Hunt 6:29 pm 06 May 10

At #4 fzgk said”

“Pork Hunt. Ill put cash up that the vast majority are employed, licensed, registered and integrated happily in the community. How much you want to bet.”

I said “large number” and you said “vast majority”. I don’t want to turn this into a maths excercise because I agree with you to “some” extent.

sloppery 5:16 pm 06 May 10

OpenYourMind said :

Take lots of the comments above and apply them to testing for legal medications that are known to affect driving. eg. statements like “if it saves just one life” or “try telling the family of someone who died in a car”. These emotive statements apply whether the drug is legal or illegal. And has been said, the trouble is the tests aren’t good enough to show concentration, just presence of a trace.

Yes, but some drugs are ILLEGAL, like speeding, or riding a bicycle across a pedestrian crossing.

OpenYourMind 5:02 pm 06 May 10

Take lots of the comments above and apply them to testing for legal medications that are known to affect driving. eg. statements like “if it saves just one life” or “try telling the family of someone who died in a car”. These emotive statements apply whether the drug is legal or illegal. And has been said, the trouble is the tests aren’t good enough to show concentration, just presence of a trace.

sloppery 4:36 pm 06 May 10

Jim Jones said :

sloppery said :

Jim Jones said :

For a start, what are the stats on confirmed links between fatal vehicle accidents and drug affectation (other than alcohol)?

Same question I asked above. It would be nice if we could take a more pragmatic view of other road rules in the same way, and adjust things to be more aligned with actual, measurable results. I curious as to whether there is any information (from anywhere) that establishes a clear link between drug use and road trauma, and the nature of the results. There’s probably a link, but what it actually means may not be so clear.

Agreed.

Not likely to originate from the Liberal Party though, is it?

Frankly, it’s not likely to originate from government. Political correctness versus pragmatism, hmmm.

Beserk Keyboard Warrior 4:34 pm 06 May 10

I assume pot is exempt from this roadside testing? I drive my ’84 Accord so slowly after a spliff I’d struggle to squash a grape if I collided with it.

Jim Jones 3:45 pm 06 May 10

sloppery said :

Jim Jones said :

For a start, what are the stats on confirmed links between fatal vehicle accidents and drug affectation (other than alcohol)?

Same question I asked above. It would be nice if we could take a more pragmatic view of other road rules in the same way, and adjust things to be more aligned with actual, measurable results. I curious as to whether there is any information (from anywhere) that establishes a clear link between drug use and road trauma, and the nature of the results. There’s probably a link, but what it actually means may not be so clear.

Agreed.

Not likely to originate from the Liberal Party though, is it?

sloppery 3:27 pm 06 May 10

Jim Jones said :

For a start, what are the stats on confirmed links between fatal vehicle accidents and drug affectation (other than alcohol)?

Same question I asked above. It would be nice if we could take a more pragmatic view of other road rules in the same way, and adjust things to be more aligned with actual, measurable results. I curious as to whether there is any information (from anywhere) that establishes a clear link between drug use and road trauma, and the nature of the results. There’s probably a link, but what it actually means may not be so clear.

dtc 3:15 pm 06 May 10

Is ‘voice of reason’s’ post the longest post ever on this site? And it also manages to achieve internal consistency, oft lacking in much shorter postings.

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