Road tragedies could lead to more drug testing on NT roads

Northern Territory Police are likely to ramp up roadside drug testing in light of recent concerning events. Credit Kyle Taylor (image modified)

A rise in road fatalities in the Northern Territory, a recent police blitz and a worrying trend could lead to more roadside drug testing in the NT.

One of the Northern Territories top cops, Police Assistant Commissioner Matthew Hollamby, has suggested police will ramp up drug testing over the coming year. In an NT News article, he has highlighted several reasons for the need to increase testing:

  • The worrying increase in deaths on the roads this year, which at the time of the NT News article sat on 22. This compared to the same time last year when the figure was only four. Incidentally, since the article was published another fatality has occurred, bringing the year to date figure to 23.
  • In a recent blitz at a major music festival, nearly eight per cent of drivers who undertook drug testing returned positive results.
  • While the results from the music festival are alarming, unfortunately they are not unusual. Drug driving has overtaken drink driving in many jurisdictions, including the Northern Territory, as a factor in fatal accidents.

“Disgraceful” music festival drug testing

The police blitz at the BASSINTHEGRASS music festival that saw nearly eight per cent of drivers tested return positive results has been described by Mr Hollamby as “disgraceful”.

During the festival weekend, police randomly tested more than 2300 drivers for drugs and alcohol around Darwin. The stats for alcohol testing were worrying – around 2200 tests with 34 people blowing over the limit. That’s around 1.5 per cent. But it’s the stats for drug testing that are more concerning. Of 135 tests conducted, 34 people returned positive results for drugs, or 7.4 per cent.

Commissioner Hollamby said in the NT News article, “The more drivers we test for drug driving, the worse the results that we’re receiving.” He added that that police would ramp up drug testing in the Northern Territory over the coming year.

“Drug driving is an emerging issue in this country and our police uptake in this field is going to increase exponentially in the coming year.

“It really is a priority area where we need to pay significant attention. We are aware people are dying on the roads because of drug driving, and in some southern jurisdictions it has overtaken drink driving as a causal factor in fatal crashes.”


Northern Territory Police are likely to ramp up roadside drug testing in light of recent concerning events. Credit Kyle Taylor (image modified)

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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