Tessa Mapstone

Drug drivers out-number drink drivers in Bundaberg

DRIVERS are risking your life and their own on our roads, driving with a cocktail of drugs in their system including methamphetamine and marijuana.

There were 24 drivers listed to front Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday charged with drug-driving, with the number of drivers returning positive road-side drug tests skyrocketing.

Bundaberg Road Policing officer-in-charge Sergeant Marty Arnold said drug drivers now out numbered those returning positive drink driving tests by as much as 10 to one.

"The highest detection day we've had is six in a day and on average we're getting a couple most days," he said.

"We recorded our 228th positive test last night (Thursday) and it's predominately cannabis and ice, sometimes a combination of both.

"We're detecting drug drivers compared to drink drivers at a rate of 10 to one."

Sgt Arnold said he believed a number of those who chose to take illicit drugs had been aware Bundaberg police previously did not have a quick and easy way to test for drugs but that changed about seven months ago.

"We got the equipment in April. This testing will now become quite regular and it's here on a permanent basis. If people choose to take drugs they will get caught," he said

Sgt Arnold said it was concerning given the risks to other motorists as drug drivers could have erratic behaviour patterns.

"It spans a whole range of behaviours from people who are quite lucid to people who can't even remember how they got to where they were," he said.

"Unfortunately a lot of these people are long term drug takers. Unlike alcohol if you have a drink it's likely to be gone the next day, but that's not the case with drugs.

"People taking cannabis three to four times a week, it may never leave their system.

"We picked up a local man three nights ago for his fifth time.

"The biggest danger is they're putting other drivers at risk and we do see extremes of behaviours, especially those taking ice."

Those convicted of driving with a drug detected in their saliva face a mandatory one month minimum driving suspension and fines.

"Consequences for repeat offenders are anything up to jail," Sgt Arnold said.



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