Reality hits hard for drug drivers in South Australia

If you’re a male aged between 20 and 40 in South Australia, police have you in their sights with roadside drug testing and a new campaign.

If you’re a male driver between 20 and 40 who takes drugs, you should now be well aware that if you drive shortly after using, drug testing in South Australia will catch you.

In March, South Australia Police launched a new road safety campaign to target drug drivers. The campaign provides hard hitting messages for all drivers and particularly targets males between the ages of 20 and 40.

On the surface the targeting of a particular group of South Australians may sound unfair, but it’s simply reality. Between 2018 and 2022, 14% (66) of all lives lost and 14% (540) of serious injuries on South Australian roads occurred in crashes where a rider/driver tested positive to drugs. And male drivers between 20 and 40 are the ones most represented in this tragic road trauma.

The new campaign – called Reality Hits Hard – sends a strong message highlighting the differences between tragic reality and drug drivers’ indifference to safety. With a key message of “Reality Hits Hard When You Drive on Drugs”, the campaign features two separate ads. One targets those who use methamphetamine, the other those who use cannabis.

South Australia Police Traffic Services Branch Officer in Charge, Superintendent Darren Fielke said the campaign will attempt to change people perceptions. He said that while some drug users believe they are okay to drive with illicit drugs in their system, crash data and other research clearly shows drugs impair the ability to drive safely.

Furthermore, he adds that South Australia Police will catch those who do the wrong thing during roadside drug testing.

“Typically, we hear cannabis users say they are more cautious when driving and try not to attract attention while drivers or riders who have taken methamphetamine perceive themselves as alert and responsive.”

“Both perceptions are wrong; cannabis can affect perception, reaction time and judgement, while meth can make drivers aggressive, over-confident and dangerously drowsy as the high wears off,” Superintendent Fielke said.

He added that both these driving behaviours are obvious for police who patrol South Australian roads. When they see these behaviours they will pull over drivers and conduct random drug testing.

The cannabis and methamphetamine ads can be viewed on this page.

Note: National Road Safety Week is on between 5 and 12 May. It’s a time to reflect on the people who are killed and seriously injured on our roads, pledge to drive safely, teach our children to drive safely, protect those who protect us, ensure our vehicles are safe, always avoid distraction when driving, share the streets safely and take care on regional roads.

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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