Drug driving: A question of impairment

CANNABIS, alcohol, amphetamines, prescription medications:these can all impair your driving ability – so why are only two of them illegal to posses?

On January 12, police performeddrink/drug tests on 84 drivers in Bega. Fourteen gavepositive roadside oral fluid results for illicit drugs and weretaken for further oral teststo be analysed in a laboratory, looking forcannabis and amphetamines.

When this story was posted on the Bega District News’ Facebook page it generated adebateover how fair it was to chargedrivers caught with drugs in their system, particularly if the drugs were potentially takenseveral days prior.

The NSW government’s Centre for Road Safety (CRS) states cannabis can be detected in saliva for up to 12 hours after use whilestimulants such asspeed, ice and pillscan be detected for one to two days.

In fact, according to the National Cannabis Preventionand Information Centre,cannabis can stay in your system for up to five days if you are an occasional user or six weeks if you are a regular user –far longer than alcohol would remain in your system.

Also, documents obtained by the NSW Greens under freedom of information laws have shown there is no lower limit of drugs that are detectable in the saliva of people subjected to the roadside oral drug tests, and no proof the testsare effective in preventing crashes.

Despite this, nearly 100,000 NSW residents each year are subjected to roadside drug testing.

Illicit drugs should not be the only drugs thought of as impairing to drivers. In 2013a UK-basedstudy foundthatbenzodiazepines, such as Valium, werethe secondmostcommon drug foundin drivers killedonroads –the first was alcohol.

TheCRS states taking prescriptionmedications can affect your driving and peoplewho take medication should use alternative means of transport–sound similar to those What’s Your Plan Bads released by the state government?

However, this should not understate the impactillicitdrugs have on the road, as the CRS states about10 per cent of mobile drug testscome back positivecompared with less than oneper cent of RBTs for alcohol.

These facts highlight how being impaired by any drug can affect your driving ability, but there needs to be more specific testing to identify when there are high doses of drugs such as cannabis or Valium in your system.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Comments are closed.