ONE in four Fraser Coast drivers given drug tests are caught driving while high – and police say it’s not just youngsters at fault, with the offenders including grey nomads.
In the past six months, of the 403 drivers tested, 97 have recorded a positive result to either speed or ice, ecstasy or cannabis, according to the latest figures from the Queensland Police Service.
Hervey Bay and Maryborough fare with the worst with 24 of the 68 drivers in Hervey Bay testing positive and 20 of the 93 drivers in Maryborough found with drugs in their system.
Roadside drug tests are conducted by police in conjunction with random breath tests for alcohol.
But, unlike the alcohol test which is random, drug tests are only conducted on those people police believe may be driving under the influence of an illegal substance.
Maryborough District Acting Superintendent Stephen Donnelly said it was not just the stereotypical characters being caught flying high on the road.
“We are finding that some of our grey nomads are testing positive,” he said.
Supt Donnelly said the test conducted was an initial swab. If that tested positive on the roadside, a second device was used to take a sample which was then sent away for analysis.
Drivers will have their licence suspended for 48 hours following the first positive test but it is only if the second test is positive that drivers are charged.
Supt Donnelly said drug drivers should fear more than charges.
“In some senses it can be more dangerous (than drink driving),” he said.
Drug driving is categorised as one of the Fatal Five factors which contribute to deadly crashes on Queensland roads.
Hervey Bay Police Criminal Investigation Bureau Acting Senior Sergeant David Guild said the drug driving tests were also helping with general police work.
“It helps identify users and suppliers and people involved in the drug scene,” he said.
Snr Sgt Guild said positive drug test results were also used as a part of their intelligence gathering. The drugs tested for – ice, speed, ecstasy and cannabis – can be detected for days after use.
Hervey Bay – 24
Maryborough – 20
Fraser Island – 5
Howard – 2
Tiaro – 13
Childers – 12
Gayndah – 9
Mundubbera – 1
Tin Can Bay – 11
This is absolutely shocking. Its difficult enough driving sober on the beaches, taking into account all the different aspects mother nature can throw your way.
Please be aware of other drivers actions while traveling on the islands.
We strongly condemn drug usage and support a drug free Australia.