Navigating roadside drug testing in the Northern Territory

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Northern Territorians may be a very relaxed bunch about a lot of things, but not drug driving. While is why roadside drug testing laws are similar in the NT as the rest of the nation. Credit Mitch https://unsplash.com/photos/person-driving-car-on-road-during-daytime-3lF5CxR0FvI

The Northern Territory may be known for its crocodiles, colourful characters and stunning natural environment, but perhaps the key thing that sets us apart from the rest of nation is our more relaxed lifestyle and attitude. However, that doesn’t mean we’re relaxed about people drug driving, which is why roadside drug testing can catch you in the NT.

Northern Territory roadside drug testing laws

The laws regarding drug driving and roadside drug testing in Northern Territory certainly aren’t relaxed. However, they are very similar to the other states and territories in Australia. For example:

  • Drug driving laws are in place to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on NT roads.
  • Northern Territory Police has the power to conduct drug testing on any driver, at any time. You don’t need to be involved in an accident or be under suspicion. Police can request a random drug test, in the same way as they conduct random alcohol testing.
  • If asked to undergo roadside drug testing, you’ll be required to provide a saliva sample for analysis.
  • Your saliva sample will be analysed for the presence of Delta 9 THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, methylamphetamine and MDMA or ecstasy.
  • If you test positive on the first saliva test, Northern Territory Police can require you to submit to a second saliva test at the roadside to confirm the presence of drugs. Blood testing will remain as an alternative where a second saliva test can’t be carried out.

See the Northern Territory Government website for more information on roadside drug testing and the consequences if you fail a test.

Can you refuse roadside drug testing in the Northern Territory?

What if you refuse to undergo roadside drug testing in the Northern Territory?

You can of course refuse, but you shouldn’t. Generally, the consequences for refusing a saliva or blood test when asked to do so are the same as providing a positive test.

There may be circumstances where you can’t comply by submitting to a saliva test, for example, you’ve been injured or have a disability that prevents you from providing a sufficient sample. In these instances, if Northern Territory Police believe you may be under the influence of a drug, they can detain you and take you to a hospital or health centre for a blood sample.

Like the saliva sample, you should comply to a blood test request unless there’s a very good reason for not doing so. Refusing because you know you have taken drugs isn’t a particularly good reason. Again, you’re better to comply and take the test as the consequences are likely to be the same, if not greater, as a positive result.

FEATURED IMAGE CAPTION:

Northern Territorians may be a very relaxed bunch about a lot of things, but not drug driving. While is why roadside drug testing laws are similar in the NT as the rest of the nation. Credit Mitch https://unsplash.com/photos/person-driving-car-on-road-during-daytime-3lF5CxR0FvI

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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