By Arianne McManus
More than 40 people die on our roads each year due to “drug driving”, the first major study undertaken of deaths directly caused by drugs has revealed.
Over a 4 year period between 2010 and last year, 166 people who died on our roads tested positive to drugs, with police now using a massively improved roadside drug testing machine which began operation two weeks ago.
The figures showed deaths due to drugs was 11% – not far behind those killed by alcohol last year, which is 15%.
A driver using both drugs and alcohol is 32 times more likely to have a fatal crash while a user of amphetamines is six times more likely to be in an accident. Authorities believe the figure would be even higher if they had the capability to test for a wider range of drugs, which at the moment is restricted to cannabis, speed, and ecstasy.
Trails are being conducted overseas on new devices which could detect other substances, such as cocaine.
It is said by Minister for Roads Duncan Gay that, for the first time in this state’s history we have undertaken research that allows us to uncover that a disturbing 11% of road fatalities invoved a driver or motorcyclist who had illicit drugs in their system, and at least 166 people died on our roads in crashes involving motorists with at least one of three illicit drugs, cannabis, speed or ecstasy, in their system and more than 1000 motorists per year in the same period were convicted for drug driving.
Police have been increasingly targeting motorists with roadside drug and alcohol testing operations, with alarming results showing one in 43 drivers are testing positive for illegal substances while only one in 259 are affected by alcohol.
Originally posted on The Daily Telegraph.