Drugs, Driving and Roadside Drug Testing

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs impairs driving skills. A zero blood alcohol limit applies to all L, P1 and P2 licence holders. This means NO ALCOHOL before driving. Any driver, motorcycle rider or supervising licence holder may be required to undertake roadside testing for the presence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs. Roadside drug testing will detect the following three illicit drugs:

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component of cannabis.
  • Methylamphetamine (‘ice’, ‘speed’, ‘crystal meth’ ‘base’ etc).
  • Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA or ‘ecstasy’).

Driving after using cannabis results in longer reaction times, alters distance and time perception, lowers concentration, coordination, alertness and ability to react, and narrows or blurs vision. Driving after using stimulants such as ecstasy and speed/ice increases risk taking and aggressive driving cause’s loss of concentration and blurred or limited vision. The effects of cannabis, ecstasy and speed can last and be detected up to 24 hours after use. Combining drugs or taking drugs with alcohol increases impairment and risks.

Of those who reported driving on drugs, the most common drug was cannabis at 81 per cent followed by ecstasy at 13 per cent and speed at 10 per cent.

Suggestions for parents; Familiarise yourself with how drug education is being taught in your young person’s school.

Keep up to date with the latest information on alcohol, cannabis and other drugs and their effects, so you can have a credible conversation with the young person in your care.

Remind your young person to only travel with a sober and responsible driver who is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Discuss how they are getting home and be willing to collect them if they feel they are at risk.

Use TV reports, anti-drug commercials, school discussions about drugs, or a website to help you introduce the subject in a natural, unforced way.

Resources: www.rta.nsw.gov.au and www.geared.nsw.gov.au www.drugsdriving.adf.org.au www.ndarc.med.unsw.edu.auFollow links to Drug Information: Fact Sheets www.ncpic.org.aufor information on cannabis www.youthsafe.org www.yourroom.com.au


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    RRISK is a health promotion program that addresses risk-taking behaviour amongst year 11 students in the North Coast of NSW.