ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Random drug testing of drivers in Victoria

Boorman, Martin C

Drink/Drug Driving


Victoria has had a legislative framework to randomly screen drivers for the presence of alcohol at prohibited levels since 1976. The past thirty years has seen a significant reduction of the contribution of alcohol to road trauma in Victoria through the general deterrent effect of this type of enforcement. The emergence of increased involvement of drugs other than alcohol drug in road trauma in Victoria led to legislation being introduced in 2000 to detect and prosecute drives found to be impaired by drugs other than alcohol. The drug impaired driving legislation is based on the recognition of observable impairment in drivers. The impairment based program does not provide a high level of general deterrence from using drugs and driving as the enforcement is not highly visible. In December 2004 a legislative framework for the random drug screening of drivers modelled on the successful random alcohol screening methodology was introduced in Victoria. The framework prohibits driving while methamphetamine (MA), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and cannabis (THC) is present at any level and, for police to randomly drug test drivers for the presence of the drugs by oral fluid (saliva) sample screening at the roadside. The new drug screening program has the potential to substantially reduce the contribution of drug use to road trauma in Victoria in the same way as the alcohol screening program has over the past thirty years. The results of the random drug screening program thus far clearly indicate this potential may be realised.