NINETEEN motorists returned a positive result for drugs in a roadside operation in Griffith on Thursday.
Inspector Stephen Blair, commander of the state’s random drug testing unit, said the number of positive readings was alarming.
“Police conducted 69 roadside drug tests which resulted in 19 drivers testing positive to illicit drugs,” Inspector Blair said.
The tests detect THC, the active component in cannabis, methamphetamine, which includes speed and ice and MDMA (ecstacy).
Eight motorists returned a positive result for THC, nine returned a positive result for methamphetamine and two returned a positive result for a combination of methamphetamine and THC.
Inspector Blair said the motorists who returned a positive result had their license automatically suspended for 24 hours.
“Those persons who tested positive on Thursday, we take away their driving privilege for 24 hours and we send the sample to the lab and usually within three to four weeks the result is back,” Inspector Blair said.
He warned motorists their next drug test could occur at anytime.
“Anytime, anywhere you could be stopped for a mobile drug test,” Inspector Blair said.
He said the random tests were not about prosecuting motorists for drug use.
The aim was to make the roads safer for all motorists.
“Our aim is to deter those people involved in the drug scene from driving a motor vehicle,” Inspector Blair said.
He said investigations into fatal car accidents revealed 14 per cent of accident victims had illicit drugs in their system. “This is all about road safety,” Inspector Blair said.
“You don’t want someone driving at 100km/h hurtling towards you that may have one of these drugs in their system.
“If you’re tied up in the drug scene we say please do not drive a motor vehicle.”
Inspector Blair said the tests may detect drugs days after use.
“These drugs can remain in a person’s system for a number of days and every person’s metabolism is different,” he said. “If you’re in the drugs scene, in the days after taking drugs, don’t drive a motor vehicle.”
Inspector Blair said the penalty for a first time offence could be a loss of license for six months. Subsequent offences can result in up to 12 months loss of license and substantial fines.
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