Drug drivers will be removed from Victorian roads faster than ever before with the commencement of a new road policing trial that kicks off across the state this week.
In a Victorian first, drug drivers who commit their first offence will now be issued a $495 infringement notice at the time of their offending.
There will also be a permanent significant increase to the imposed driving ban that applies to drivers caught with drugs still in their system – for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy said the trial would expedite the process of removing drug drivers from the roads.
“Until now, police would have to wait for a toxicology certificate before issuing a drug driver with an infringement notice and the subsequent imposition of a six-month licence suspension”, AC Murphy said.
“This delayed process creates a risk that the offending driver will continue to drive while still having drugs in their system which is seriously concerning.
“You should not and do not have the privilege to drive a vehicle if you have drugs in your system, so we’re taking steps to remove that privilege a lot faster if you’re caught doing the wrong thing.”
Drivers who receive the infringement on the roadside will still be required to undertake two roadside drug tests known as a Preliminary Oral Fluid Test (POFT) and Oral Fluid Test (OFT).
If these two tests return a positive result for the presence of drugs, an infringement will be issued and a driving ban will be imposed.
Drivers still have the option to exercise their rights under the current infringement process and can challenge it through the court process.
“People know if they’re doing something wrong, so they can expect to be caught,” AC Murphy said.
“The technology and processes used in our roadside drug testing program are extremely accurate. The chance of someone receiving a false reading is very small. But rest assured, if an error is detected during laboratory testing, the infringement will be withdrawn.”
“What we hope to see from this is a smoother, more efficient system that helps to remove drug drivers from the roads making them safer for everyone else.”