Transport in its own league on drug use, cop says


The transport industry is the only industry that has occupational drug use, according to Victoria Police

By Ruza Zivkusic | July 19, 2011

The transport industry is the only industry that has occupational drug use, according to Victoria Police

Acting Senior Sergeant Alan Tickner, from the force’s highway unit, says one in 20 truck drivers were tested for illicit drugs in 2010.

Speaking at the Australian Livestock Transporters Association and the Livestock Transporters Association (LTAV/ALTA) 2011 national conference in Melbourne, Tickner says 70 percent of those that tested positive to drugs were using amphetamines.

"Transport industry is the only industry that has occupational drug use which is not recreational," he says.

"When testing began in 2007 it was one in every 8.4 drivers that tested positive to drugs."

One in five has found themselves in a dangerous fatigue-related event, with fatigue most present between 4am and 6am, and mid-afternoon, Tickner says.

He says a driver awake for 16 hours is the equivalent of someone having a 0.5 blood alcohol level.

Twenty-two percent of drivers have reported working more than 71 hours in the previous week, according to Tickner.

"Why do they carry and use drugs? Because it stops them from nodding off, to get the job done, to combat work fatigue and to do the work they’re employed to do," he says.

That was the response given to police by truck drivers who were caught with drugs, he adds.

The unit was formed in the late 1980s and currently has 22 staff who intercept 4,000 trucks each year.


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