Victorian Police target long-haul drivers in drug blitz


Victoria Police have singled out long-haul truck drivers and dance-club patrons as the twin focuses of the force's anti-drug driving effort

By Rob McKay | July 16, 2010

Victoria Police have singled out long-haul truck drivers and dance-club patrons as the twin focuses of the force’s anti-drug driving effort.

The Victorian Transport Association is backing the police effort to the hilt.

"The police have a strategy to address the issue and the VTA supports that strategy," VTA chief executive Phil Lovel, clearly frustrated that some drivers flout such laws, says.

One in 61 drivers in general have tested positive to drugs, with amphetamines in the form of "speed" present in 83 percent of cases.

In the five and a half years since Victoria Police’s random drug testing program started, more than 122,000 drivers have been tested for drugs, and of those almost 2,000 have tested positive.

In the last six months police have drug tested 22,473 drivers with 336 drivers returning a positive result – a detection ration of 1:69.

Of the 336 positive drivers, 87 percent were male, 35 percent were under 26 and 28 percent of the positive drivers were detected in rural Victoria.

"Drivers who have recently consumed cannabis or an amphetamine-based substance are at the same risk as having a crash as a driver with a blood alcohol concentration level above 0.05," Traffic Drug and Alcohol Inspector Martin Boorman says.

He was quoted in the The Age as saying long-haul truck drivers are "over-represented in our road trauma and it’s an area that we need to focus on".

Under Operation Austrans this year, state and federal police established heavy vehicle checking stations to conduct random breath and drug tests, check log books, check for dangerous goods and crack down on speeding.

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