Why do the police conduct roadside drug testing in Queensland? Is it, as one line of popular opinion suggests, simply a revenue raiser? Or is it a valuable lifesaver?
Drug testing in Queensland a revenue raiser
Like most states and territories in Australia, Queensland initiated roadside drug testing in the mid-2000s. Since then, it’s difficult to argue that the implementation of drug testing hasn’t been good for the state’s bottom line.
For example, during the 2017/2018 financial year, the Queensland Police Service continued to expand its roadside drug testing capabilities, allowing them to increase the number of drug tests by 17.5% to nearly 66,000 tests. Of those 66,000 drug tests, approximately one in five drivers tested positive. One in five! That’s around 13,000 positive random drug testing results.*
With fines up to $1868 for a first offence for drug presence, up to $3736 for driving under the influence of a drug and over $8000 for repeat offences, it’s safe to say there’s a lot of revenue raised in Queensland from roadside drug testing.
There are plans to increase roadside drug testing even further in Queensland, to allow 75,000 tests per year by 2020/2021.
Drug testing in Queensland a lifesaver
While it’s hard to argue that drug testing in Queensland is a revenue raiser, it’s also hard to argue that it’s not a lifesaver (although that doesn’t stop people from trying!).
According to StreetSmarts, while the effects of drugs on driving can vary depending on the type of drugs, in general drugs can reduce a person’s ability to judge distance and speed, distort time, place and space, reduce coordination, increase hyperactivity, aggressiveness, paranoia and hallucinations, and cause blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue, memory loss, nausea, tremors, mood swings, unconsciousness and muscle weakness.
Would you like someone who has recently taking drugs to be driving beside, behind, in front of or past you? Of course not, because there’s simply no place on our roads for people who are affected by drugs.
Yet, plenty of people do drive while affected by drugs:
- The National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 identified drug driving as a contributing factor in seven percent of serious casualty crashes nationwide.
- According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016, the rate of self-reported drug driving was 15.1% nationwide.
- And, as the figures above show, in 2017/2018 financial year alone, around 13,000 Queensland drivers were caught in roadside drug testing.
Drug testing in Queensland workplaces
You won’t find Integrity Sampling conducting drug testing on Queensland roads, but you may see us in Queensland workplaces conducting drug testing. Because, if people are willing to take risks with drugs on our roads, you can be darn sure they’ll take risks at work.
Phone us on 1300 SALIVA to find out more about drug testing in your Queensland workplace.
Is roadside drug testing in Queensland a revenue raiser or a valuable lifesaver? Credit John Skewes https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnske/12167966284/