Roadside drug testing statistics in Queensland have revealed the staggering number of drivers who are taking drugs and getting behind the wheel.
According to an article on the CarExpert website, between July 1 and December 6 last year, Queensland Police conducted over 26,000 roadside drug tests. Just over 5500 motorists failed the Queensland roadside drug testing, a failure rate of more than one in five or over 20 per cent.
Another interesting aspect of the figures is the number of Queensland drivers detected with cocaine in their system during roadside drug testing. Cocaine was added to the list of drugs that Qld Police could detect on July 7, 2023. The drug joined methamphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy) and THC as the drugs that could be detected on Queensland roads.
During the July 1 and December 6 period, of the 5523 positive drug tests, 332 were for cocaine. While it’s a significant figure, it’s only a fraction of the total failed results. Most drivers to fail roadside drug testing in Queensland were positive for either THC, which is the psychoactive constituent of cannabis, or methamphetamines.
Methamphetamines – or ICE, crystal meth or simple meth as it is commonly called – is of particular concern when it’s mixed with driving or doing any activity where safety is important. Methamphetamines is a stimulant which speeds up the central nervous system. It can provide feelings of alertness and energy, however, it can also cause high-risk behaviour, hyperactivity, anxiety, irritability and paranoia.
The CarExpert article lays out the consequences for drivers or motorcyclists who fail roadside drug testing in Queensland. This includes a one-month licence disqualification and a fine of up to $2167 for a first offence. Repeat offenders can even face jail time.
However, it should be highlighted that in Queensland, or any other part of Australia, being caught in roadside drug testing is certainly not the most serious consequence you may face if you drug drive. You could have an accident and damage your car or other people’s cars or possessions, or injure or kill yourself or someone else. This could include anyone else in your car who you love.
No, failing roadside drug testing in Queensland is certainly not the worst consequence.
Learnings for workplace drug testing in Queensland
With one in five people failing drug testing on Queensland roads, a rate that’s close to mirrored in NSW, as reported recently), what’s the message for HR and Safety Managers, and business owners?
As the roadside statistics show, clearly there are many people who do take drugs in Australia. It’s also clear that many of them are then prepared to take part in risky behaviours, such as driving a car or riding a motorbike. And if they’re prepared to do that, they’re also likely going to turn up to workplaces, even ones were safety is critical.
For employers, the key message should be clear – in safety-critical workplaces, a robust drug and alcohol policy, including regular testing, is imperative.
For employees in safety-sensitive roles, hopefully the message is equally clear. It’s in everyone’s interest to endorse workplace drug and alcohol programs, as the consequences of impaired individuals extend beyond themselves to the safety of the entire team.
To find out how Integrity Sampling can help you develop a workplace drug and alcohol policy, conduct drug and alcohol testing or educate your workforce, give us a call on 1300 725 482.
Roadside drug testing statistics from Queensland and across the country should be sending a clear message to employers of the importance of having a robust drug and alcohol policy and conducting testing. Credit Highway Patrol Images https://www.flickr.com/photos/special-fx/8615915812/