The RACQ, Queensland’s peak motoring body, has called on the State Government to increase roadside drug testing. In particular, they want to see testing become mandatory after all crashes.
The call for increased Queensland drug testing comes following RACQ’s latest Annual Road Safety Survey. According to the RACQ website, the survey showed that around one in six young motorists admit to driving while under the influence of illicit drugs.
It’s the first time the survey had asked Queensland drivers about their drug use and Head of Public Policy for RACQ Dr Michael Kane says the results are concerning.
“These results are extremely concerning and have exposed the prevalence of drug driving, particularly among our youngest and most inexperienced drivers,” Dr Kane said on the RACQ website.
“Considering every fifth fatality (20.5%) on Queensland roads in 2022 involved a drug driver, we need these motorists to wake up to themselves and not put their life, or the lives of others at risk. No driver can say they didn’t know it was illegal to drink or drug drive.”
As the above statistic shows, we should not be surprised that one in six young motorists have admitted to driving with an illegal drug in their system. The RACQ also revealed that between 2018 and 2022, 280 people died in road crashes involving a drink driver and 267 died in crashes involving a drug driver. In other words, drug driving fatalities are now just as big of an issue as drink driving.
Roadside drug testing in Queensland
Roadside drug testing statistics in Queensland – and indeed across Australia – also backup the survey. In a recent media release, the government highlighted that there are approximately 50,000 random drug tests carried out in Queensland every year and, shockingly, around 1 in 4 motorists return a positive drug testing result.
The RACQ is supporting the State Government’s commitment to develop a package of drug driving reforms. They’re also calling for mandatory drug testing after a crash, believing this will improve data on the issue and increase the chance of drug drivers being caught.
Dr Kane said in the RACQ website article that it’s not just driving under the influence of illicit drugs that can be dangerous. Around eight percent of Queenslanders admit they’ve taken either prescription or non-prescription drugs before getting behind the wheel.
“Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs can affect your vision, mood, decision-making skills, muscles, and coordination and therefore impair your ability to drive,” he said.
“We urge people to stop driving and speak to their doctor if they notice their medication is impairing their driving and ask their doctor or pharmacist about the possible effects of any new medications.”
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