19 June 2020

Drug driving: don’t risk it

| My Gungahlin
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Minister for Justice, Shane Rattenbury, and ACT Policing Deputy Chief Police Officer Commander John Bourke have reminded Canberra motorists of the risks and consequences of drug driving at the launch of the Drug Driving: Don’t Risk It campaign today.

“Last year, four out of the ten road fatalities in the ACT involved a driver or motorcycle rider with drugs in their system,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Impaired drivers pose one of the highest risks on our roads and there is a range of evidence linking certain illicit and prescription drugs to elevated crash risk.

“Drug use can slow down your reaction time, causing a distorted view of time and distance and also stimulate the nervous system which can lead to a reduced attention span, and the sudden onset of fatigue as the stimulant effects wear off.

“Roadside drug testing contributes greatly to improving road safety by deterring and removing drug affected drivers from ACT roads before their behaviour leads to death or serious injury. If you take drugs and drive, you are putting yourself and everyone around you at risk.

In the ACT, drivers can be tested for the presence of drugs, including cannabis (THC), methylamphetamine and ecstasy.

“Unlike alcohol which has a legal limit, any trace of these drugs in your system while driving is an offence,” Mr Rattenbury said. “Drugs can stay in your system long after you take them, so you could test positive hours or even days after consumption.”

ACT Policing Deputy Chief Police Officer Commander, John Bourke, said ACT Policing is targeting drug drivers throughout November, December and January.

“Of serious concern for police is the prevalence of drug driving on Canberra’s roads, with 344 drivers testing positive for drugs in the last financial year. Our records show that one in every seven drivers we test will return a positive indication for drugs. To put that into perspective, one in every 123 drivers screened for alcohol will be over the limit. We do not want to see this increasing trend of drug driving continue,” Commander Bourke said.

“ACT Policing will be conducting high visibility roadside drug testing throughout Canberra. Don’t risk it, if you drive with these drugs in your system, you will be caught and you will face the consequences.”

“The Drug Driving: Don’t Risk It campaign will educate drivers about the ACT’s roadside drug testing arrangements and the consequences of being caught,” Mr Rattenbury said. “The campaign includes television, cinema and radio advertisements as well as print and social media materials.”

If you or someone you know is concerned about drugs or alcohol, there are several treatment, support and information programs available in the ACT, including the ACT Alcohol and Drug Services Intake Line – 02 6207 9977.

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