Victoria flags drug-driving law review, including drug testing truck drivers

Victoria may need a further review of drug-driving laws, with ice use becoming a more dangerous problem than drunk drivers, Police Minister Lisa Neville has said.

Key points:

  • Ms Neville said drug-driving incidents had overtaken accidents caused by drink driving
  • She flagged an examination of drug testing in trucking companies for urgent attention
  • Victoria Police officials had expressed frustration in the past about the “convoluted” testing process

The Minister flagged looking at drug testing in trucking companies as an area which needed urgent attention.

“[We need to] have a look at the settings in relation to trucks — driving hours, drug testing, but it will lead us down the path more broadly around what we need to do around drug-driving,” Ms Neville said.

“Whether it’s a truck driver, whether it’s a driver in the car, we know that more than half of our deaths on the road at the moment are because of drug-driving and we’re going to have to think as a community [about] doing something differently about this,” Ms Neville said.

“This is a growing issue, alcohol is a small part now of what we see of deaths.”

Drug-driving reforms expected soon

Drug-driving penalties now mirror drink-driving rules, and police are looking at ways to boost drug tests on the roads.

But there are issues around how long drug tests take and whether the person is impaired or not — for example, if they had taken the drug days before the test.

Last year Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told a parliamentary inquiry about frustration over drug testing drivers.

“At the moment we have got a very, convoluted, expensive process around the testing,” he said in June last year.

“We are keen to do more on-the-spot infringements and then deal with the testing when they are challenged, much as we do with the alcohol screening environment.

“I think if we can get those changes, we will be able to dramatically uplift the drug-driving numbers.”

Ms Neville said she hoped to have changes made in the next 12 months.

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