Drug drivers still rife in Ballarat after weekend blitz

Police tested more than 700 drivers in Ballarat at the weekend with some disappointing drug results.
Police tested more than 700 drivers in Ballarat at the weekend with some disappointing drug results.

A BLITZ of Ballarat roads at the weekend saw more than 700 Ballarat drivers breath tested, but one driver made sure that didn’t happen, dangerously avoiding a booze bus set up on Creswick Road.

And while police were relatively pleased that only two drivers were found to be exceeding .05, with readings of .08 and .07, drug drivers continue to be a major issue with another three caught in target testing.

Sgt Ross Humphrey said police stationed at Creswick Road on Friday night were shocked to see a driver turn off and drive at speed at the sight of the booze bus.

“I believe on Friday night, there was a vehicle that turned off Creswick Road after seeing the bus and that’s incredibly dangerous,” Sergeant Humphrey said.

“Obviously if they are avoiding the buses, they must have some reason for doing it. 

“If they are going to take off at pace while operations are going on, it’s very concerning.

They are not only endangering themselves, but any passengers and the public.”

Sergeant Humphrey said police were concerned that drugs in the community was now just common place, with many young drivers seemingly unaware of the dangers of getting behind the wheel in the days after using illicit substance.

“The complacency particularly among the young at the moment is a real issue,” he said.

“With alcohol, it leaves the system at a quicker rate, the drugs usually stay in the system a lot longer and the person is affected for a lot longer time.”

Police conducted 220 tests on Friday night in Creswick Road and 487 tests right in the heart of Ballarat’s CBD on Sturt Street on Saturday.

He said more booze buses are a guarantee in the coming weeks as police look to curb deaths and trauma on the roads. 

Acting Superintendent Trevor Cornwill said Ballarat Police had had a number of positive drug tests in recent weeks.

“What we are noticing in Ballarat is the amount of impaired drivers is disproportionate than what we thought would be the case,” Acting Superintendent Cornwill said.

“What we hear from people is that ‘yes, we did take illicit drugs, but that was yesterday’.”

There have so far been 120 people killed this year, down from 142 at the same time last year.