FOR many years now authorities have hammered home the message that driving while under the influence of alcohol is a major factor in serious motor vehicle accidents.
The introduction of the .05 limit, booze buses and greater community awareness have combined to reduce the number of offenders and, in turn, the road toll.
While some continue to run the gauntlet, there’s fewer drink-drive “bloody idiots” on our roads now than ever before. Much as awareness of drink-driving grew in the 1970s in recent years, it is drug-driving which has come to the attention of authorities in the Ballarat region.
Magistrate Peter Couzens this week condemned the use of methamphetamine, or “ice” while sentencing a man who was caught driving under the influence of the drug. He said ice was becoming more prevalent in the Ballarat community.
According to the Transport Accident Commission, recent drug driving statistics show that in 2010, 18.5 per cent of killed Victorian drivers and riders tested positive for cannabis and 5.3 per cent tested positive for illicit stimulant or amphetamine-type drugs. Overall, in 2010, 37 per cent of drivers and riders who died on Victorian roads tested positive for illegal and legal drugs.
A new study from the University of Sydney has also linked poor driving with drug users, particularly those who use ice, for the first time. The study found methamphetamine users were both more likely to go over the speed limit and spend more time speeding, and were also more likely to weave from side-to-side and were greater risk takers. It’s scary stuff.
While booze buses now also act as drug-testing stations, the difference between legal consumption of alcohol and illegal consumption of hard drugs makes the community policing much more difficult.
Tougher penalties for drug drivers and greater education are ways which would be supported to quell this modern day scourge.