Published: 19 March 2018
Author: Michael Burdess
Victoria Police crackdown on drug driving
In February 2018, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) announced that they were restarting their program to educate the community about the dangers of drug driving. Further, Victoria Police are making extensive efforts to target dangerous drug drivers.
The statistics are alarming:
- In the last five years approximately 41 per cent of all drivers and motorcyclists killed who were tested, had illicit and prescription drugs in their system, with cannabis and stimulants the most common substances detected.
- One in four Victorians who use drugs admit to driving under the influence of recreational drugs. Drug driving now outstrips drink driving as a cause of fatalities.
- The latest TAC campaign supports Victoria Police’s efforts to eliminate drug driving, which includes conducting 100,000 roadside drug tests each year. The campaign focuses on ‘More drug tests, more places, more often’ and is an extension of previous television campaigns.
The number of drug tests conducted by Victoria Police has increased from 40,000 tests in 2014 to 100,000 tests in 2017. Tests are not only conducted via booze/ drug buses but from marked and unmarked patrol cars, police motorcycles and mobile intercepts.
A growing regional drug problem
In a recent case in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court, where two young drug drivers were banned and fined in court, a Magistrate expressed her concern that south-west drug users are not getting the message about driving after more motorists fronted court.
The Standard reported on February 7 2018 that Magistrate Cynthia Toose, said the message didn't seem to be getting through to the community. She said drug driving was equally as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
In January 2018, The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s latest report highlighted the depth of regional Victoria’s drug problems.
The report states that across the 8 sites monitored in the State in August 2017 — 2 capital city sites and 6 regional sites — findings show Victoria had the highest heroin consumption levels in both capital city and regional sites nationally, with the State also reporting the highest regional oxycodone consumption levels nationally.
The impact of drug driving
As lawyers, we are seeing more TAC compensation cases amongst people involved in accidents because of drug driving.
In our line of work, we see the true impact of the damage and trauma caused to innocent people who happened to be on the road at the same time as a drug driver was behind the wheel.
Hopefully the campaign will lead to safer roads for all of us in country Victoria.