The new drink and drug driving laws explained

johnboy 30 November 2010 47

TAMS have posted a lengthy and occasionally over-optimistic Drink and drug driving laws for the ACT web page.

The new laws take effect at midnight.

The big changes appear to be the knee jerk removal of the sensible .02 BAC for special drivers (so we can shout about zero tolerance without understanding successful zero tolerance campaigns).

And then there’s the drugs:

What about drug driving – when does random drug testing begin?

The ACT Legislative Assembly has passed new laws to permit roadside drug testing of motorists for the presence of cannabis, methamphetamine and ecstacy.

The new laws start on 1 December 2010, although random drug testing operations are not expected to commence until 2011.

From 1 December 2010, police will have the power to test blood taken from a driver under the Act in certain circumstances, such as where the driver is involved in a crash, to determine whether a prescribed illicit drug is present in the person’s blood.

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.

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.

Good luck with it it all people!


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
47 Responses to The new drink and drug driving laws explained
Filter
Order
TheObserver TheObserver 6:20 pm 16 Feb 11

Very suss that the tests are not for coke or smack – why not? And why is there a zero limit. This means that someone with the faintest tract (which you can pick up even only a ‘passive’ smoker could get someone pinged.

How is this good legislation

dvaey dvaey 5:03 pm 03 Dec 10

Spartacus said :

The Government’s own studies in the UK show that driving under the influence of Marijuana makes you a better driver

And lets not even start on the US military giving their pilots amphetamines to improve their concentration and vigilance. The policy was stopped due to public reaction, however many senior ranking members of the military wish for the ban to be revoked.

Since people want links:
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj97/spr97/cornum.html

LMR LMR 4:12 pm 03 Dec 10

Spartacus said :

I seriously wonder what the hell is the point of the War on Drugs? It ignores not only rational but numerous scientific studies. I’m sure this Conservative Culture War would be quite funny too watch if it wasn’t real. (the war on drugs is just that, a culture war)

The Government’s own studies in the UK show that driving under the influence of Marijuana makes you a better driver

“TAKING the high road may not be so dangerous after all. Ministers are set to be embarrassed by government-funded research which shows that driving under the influence of drugs makes motorists more cautious and has a limited impact on their risk of crashing…. However, if the findings are less than frightening on the effects of marijuana, they may convince ministers to put more money into raising driver awareness of fatigue. Tiredness is now blamed for causing 10% of all fatal accidents, compared with 6% for alcohol and 3% for drugs.”

Also might I add, they will automatically blame any crash where drugs are present in the system (which last up too months) on drugs, so even that 3% is skewed.

I wish we lived in a time where the War on Drugs could be looked at rationally and we could implement actual real measures to combat people abusing substances, but it doesn’t seem that way. While I think the majority of the public is ready too reevaluate the War On Drugs, Politicians and their ties too Right Wing Lobby Groups seem too be running as fast as they can in the other direction. (Which also reeks of corruption in my eyes)

Spartacus, could you please post a link to that study. Thanks

Mr Waffle Mr Waffle 4:23 pm 02 Dec 10

Spartacus said :

I seriously wonder what the hell is the point of the War on Drugs?

Easy scapegoats are the best ones?

Spartacus Spartacus 1:17 pm 02 Dec 10

I seriously wonder what the hell is the point of the War on Drugs? It ignores not only rational but numerous scientific studies. I’m sure this Conservative Culture War would be quite funny too watch if it wasn’t real. (the war on drugs is just that, a culture war)

The Government’s own studies in the UK show that driving under the influence of Marijuana makes you a better driver

“TAKING the high road may not be so dangerous after all. Ministers are set to be embarrassed by government-funded research which shows that driving under the influence of drugs makes motorists more cautious and has a limited impact on their risk of crashing…. However, if the findings are less than frightening on the effects of marijuana, they may convince ministers to put more money into raising driver awareness of fatigue. Tiredness is now blamed for causing 10% of all fatal accidents, compared with 6% for alcohol and 3% for drugs.”

Also might I add, they will automatically blame any crash where drugs are present in the system (which last up too months) on drugs, so even that 3% is skewed.

I wish we lived in a time where the War on Drugs could be looked at rationally and we could implement actual real measures to combat people abusing substances, but it doesn’t seem that way. While I think the majority of the public is ready too reevaluate the War On Drugs, Politicians and their ties too Right Wing Lobby Groups seem too be running as fast as they can in the other direction. (Which also reeks of corruption in my eyes)

p1 p1 12:34 pm 02 Dec 10

Kan said :

P1 – Never thought about drinking Listerine. Do you think I should drink it straight or mix it with coke and ice? It’s probably an old wives’ tale but apparently gargling Listerine, can leave enough alcohol on your breath to affect the RBT. I once said that to a cop before taking the test, and he just frowned at me and said I shouldn’t joke around about drinking and driving. What a party pooper!

I’ve heard it mixes with milk to a make a kinda minty milkshake…

It will leave alcohol on your breath (even just gargling), but only for a few minutes (maybe as much as ten). This is what they call mouth alcohol. If you drink one shot of vodka, then be RBT’d one minute later the reading will be off the chart, even thought he booze is not actually in your blood yet, which is what the breath-o-lizer is supposed to measure.

While most cops are pretty nice, they can sometimes be a little serious when you are just in the mood for a laugh.

Kan Kan 11:37 am 02 Dec 10

P1 – Never thought about drinking Listerine. Do you think I should drink it straight or mix it with coke and ice? It’s probably an old wives’ tale but apparently gargling Listerine, can leave enough alcohol on your breath to affect the RBT. I once said that to a cop before taking the test, and he just frowned at me and said I shouldn’t joke around about drinking and driving. What a party pooper!

p1 p1 10:37 am 02 Dec 10

Kan said :

Nobody’s mentioned Listerine mouthwash – that would certainly take it over the 0.0 limit. What a ridiculous law.

You aren’t supposed to drink it…

The scientific part of my brain is a little offended by the ZERO part of the law. I would have thought that 0.001 would make more sense. But I guess if the road side testing machine can’t be that accurate what it the point.

I also get that maybe this new ZERO approach is trying to change the mind set from “…I’ll just have one or two and still be under…” to one where you drink Nothing!

The fact that there is no minimum limit on the drug testing is what I find dodgy. Sure, if our elected officials think the war on drugs in fighting the good fight, and that charging users for their drug use is what will protect society, then great. But I hate that they try and pass it off as road safety, when if they cared about that they would write different laws.

But I think I am just repeating what everyone else is saying.

Kan Kan 10:11 am 02 Dec 10

Nobody’s mentioned Listerine mouthwash – that would certainly take it over the 0.0 limit. What a ridiculous law.

I just don’t drink and drive because I’ve seen too many people miscalculate their drink consumption and then end up before a grumpy judge who orders them to take the bus for the next three months. Even cops get it wrong – a friend who’s in the NSW force – drank one too many, thought he was okay and then crashed his car into a parked vehicle. He was charged with drink driving and spent the next six months riding his bicycle to the station.

LadyoftheLake LadyoftheLake 7:43 pm 01 Dec 10

ohhh… I thought it was random roadside drug testing, swab testing of saliva, I heard.

I agree with Davey (#32) – they could already insist on a blood test if you were involved in an accident or driving dangerously… and so they should. It was the ‘random’ aspect that was worrying me.

fluey fluey 7:33 pm 01 Dec 10

James-T-Kirk said :

0% means just that 0.0000000000000000000000% so – technically if the driver has breathed air that a person who has had one glass of wine has expelled (simply by being in the same room), then they have committed an offense.

Much better to have a small number 0.1, or 0.2, then people have not broken the law by simply breathing.

I wish people who wrote legislation could think for a living….

I think there is a section to provide a defence for a greater than 0 reading as a result of drinking just say at holy communion.

On a separate note.. 0.1 and 0.2 are quite high readings. 0.1 is twice the legal limit for a full licensed driver!!

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 5:52 pm 01 Dec 10

I’m sure a smart lawyer will have a field day in court with say, a client being detected with cannabis in their system.

A good court system will soon determine, most likely, that this is bad law. Remember we’re not talking murder in the ACT here but drugs.

In any case those jailed for drugs and sent to the AMC can have as much as they want there.

JessicaNumber JessicaNumber 2:37 pm 01 Dec 10

Actually I have no idea. Generally I’d also be more concerned about drivers on downers, too. My only concern with speed is that it might make you think you’re less tired and more alert than you actually are, but it would also make you be less tired and more alert so I don’t know if it balances out.

Anyway there must be some reason for the lack of concern over sedatives. Right?

D2 D2 2:03 pm 01 Dec 10

Jim Jones said :

The cops stand by the side of the road with an open pack of Tim Tams, anyone who stops and asks for one is booked for marijuana use, anyone who attempts to steal the Tim Tams is arrested for heroin use, and those who attempt to take the packet of Tim Tams nightclubbing on a yacht in the Maldives are booked for cocaine use.

😀 😀

Made my day, that did.

john87_no1 john87_no1 1:48 pm 01 Dec 10

As was covered when these laws were first tabled, the drug-driving laws arent road-safety laws, theyre anti-drug laws. The most obvious sign of this, is that there is NO threshold, if you test positive to even a trace amount, youre charged with driving under the influence of drugs to the full extent of the law.

JessicaNumber said :

Well I imagine that with prescription sedatives people know what they are taking, how much and when it is safe to drive. Street drugs may be manufactured to stringent quality control guidelines by responsible and dedicated scientists.

Out of interest, how many drug users do you think use their drug on a temporary basis, compared to how many prescription users? Id imagine the exact opposite of what youd suggest, that those who use drugs are much more aware of what it does to their body, where those who are on prescription meds, are generally only on them for a couple of weeks, and are much less aware of how the drugs affect their body.

JessicaNumber said :

… it might even just be a mystery pill with a bunch of things mixed together.

In which case, it wont be picked up by the roadside tests, since they are only testing for the 3 most common street drugs, not the 3 most dangerous, otherwise the primary tests would be for opiates and barbituates.

I thought that the Australia justice system was based on what you can prove – not what you think you know. If they could prove that someone is high and driving then it would be fine. But they cant.

dvaey dvaey 1:02 pm 01 Dec 10

shadow boxer said :

How does this work, do they really have a doctor taking peoples blood on the side of the road or do they do that at the police station on suspicion or after some other sort of test?

From OP: From 1 December 2010, police will have the power to test blood taken from a driver under the Act in certain circumstances, such as where the driver is involved in a crash

Basically what this means, is the police take you to the hospital ‘to get checked out’, and once youre there the hospital staff are legally obligated to take a blood sample.

About 5 years ago, I took a friend to hospital after a relatively minor accident once to get checked out. Even though it was 6hrs after the accident (2hrs of which was spent in waiting room), the nursing staff took blood for drug/alcohol testing.

These laws have been in-place for donkeys years, its just that now the government is adding another way for the police to do what they already were able to do. The laws regarding drug-driving have also been inplace for many years, police have always (since the days of RBTs anyway) had the power to detain you and conduct random drug tests, even including forcing(*) you to submit to a blood test if they so desire.

(*) “do you agree to be drug tested?” “no officer” “im taking you into custody for refusal to take a test”

deejay deejay 12:58 pm 01 Dec 10

@ James-T-Kirk:
I wish people who wrote legislation could think for a living…

My husband is a legislative drafter, and believe me, he wishes he could force people who give him instructions to think…

Jim Jones Jim Jones 12:57 pm 01 Dec 10

shadow boxer said :

How does this work, do they really have a doctor taking peoples blood on the side of the road or do they do that at the police station on suspicion or after some other sort of test?

The cops stand by the side of the road with an open pack of Tim Tams, anyone who stops and asks for one is booked for marijuana use, anyone who attempts to steal the Tim Tams is arrested for heroin use, and those who attempt to take the packet of Tim Tams nightclubbing on a yacht in the Maldives are booked for cocaine use.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 12:27 pm 01 Dec 10

How does this work, do they really have a doctor taking peoples blood on the side of the road or do they do that at the police station on suspicion or after some other sort of test?

ezy10z ezy10z 12:18 pm 01 Dec 10

funny how it doesnt detect cocaine and herion… the 2 drugs most commonly used by politicians

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top

Search across the site