Victoria Police continue drugs focus

One heavy vehicle driver in 77 tests positive in Victoria Police’s latest drug-drive operation


Victoria Police undertook an extensive random drug testing operation on Tuesday, pulling over more than 300 heavy vehicle drivers across three sites.

The operation targeted heavy vehicle drivers specifically.

Of the 309 heavy vehicle drivers tested in the outer Melbourne suburbs of Epping, Dandenong, and Derrimut, four were found to be driving under the influence of narcotics.

Two tested positive for cannabis use, while two tested positive for methamphetamine, or ice.

Head of Victoria Police’s transport investigations unit Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin says those results represented an improvement on previous operations, but were still confronting for police.

"While the ratio of drivers testing positive was lower than (in) previous operations it is still concerning to catch four drivers taking drugs during a regular Tuesday work day," he says.

He believes the transport industry needs to take more responsibility for risk-taking drivers.

"What we would like to see is a lot more workplace testing; companies stepping up to the plate and taking a bit of responsibility for what their drivers are doing," he tells the Herald Sun newspaper.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) says its members are already doing exactly that. "VTA members take a zero tolerance approach to substance abuse by drivers," CEO Peter Anderson says.

But he notes the issue is far broader than the transport industry alone. "As an industry we do not accept that illicit drugs are somehow a greater problem for transport companies than they are for other parts of the community.

"The transport industry directly and indirectly employs thousands of workers on and off the road and is therefore a microcosm of contemporary society and its problems, including substance abuse.

"The VTA and its member organisations spend considerable time, money and effort on programs that educate and inform drivers and other transport workers about the inherent dangers of substance abuse and driving."

Anderson says transport companies will continue to work with law enforcement authorities to ensure roads are safer for all users. "We support Victoria Police efforts to stamp out drug driving by all motorists, and already work closely with them on a range of road safety and driver education programs, and will continue to do so as a responsible community citizen," Anderson says.

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