Police crack down on drugged up drivers

FOUR men have been caught driving under the influence of methamphetamines during the past four days, causing police to issue fresh warnings about the dangers of drug driving.

Senior Sergeant Pat Cleary from the Ballarat Highway Patrol said drug taking drivers were being targeted in Operation Crossroads, a nationally coordinated road safety campaign to reduce road trauma.

A taskforce from Melbourne have been present in Ballarat throughout the festive period.

Senior Sergeant Cleary said methamphetamines came in different variants but was usually known as “ice”.

“It’s a highly dangerous drug and to mix that with driving is the absolute recipe for disaster on the roads,” he said.

“People around Ballarat need to understand that we have the ability to test for drug use and if they choose to use these drugs and drive then it’s highly likely that they’ll be detected and prosecuted.

“We have enough concern on our roads with alcohol, speed and distraction so to add drugs to the mix is a real concern and we know that people are getting hurt as a result.”

Yesterday, a 37-year-old Ballarat driver was picked up by police in Skipton Street with methamphetamines in his system.

On Sunday, a 30-year-old South Australian man tested positive to the same drug while driving through Ballarat North on the way to a music festival in Lorne.

On the same day, a Sebastopol man was caught drug driving while getting groceries, and on Friday a P-plater in Ararat was picked up with methamphetamines in his system.

Drivers are being tested for alcohol and drugs by marked police cars and motorbikes, and are being pulled over randomly as well as at road blocks.

Senior Sergeant Cleary said drug affected drivers could still produce positive readings long after taking drugs.

“What they need to understand is that methamphetamines stay in the system for several days after use and although these people think they are ok to drive they aren’t and they are being detected,” he said.

“We’re doing our utmost to detect and prosecute these people that put the lives and welfare of others at danger on our roads.”

The drug tests will go off to Melbourne for analysis before charges are laid.