Drug driving FAQs

Drug testing for drivers helps to improve road safety, as drugs often factor in fatal road accidents.

When do drug tests occur?

You could be tested for drugs at any time.

Drug testing is often done with random breath testing, but sometimes there are stand-alone random drug testing sites.

What drugs do the tests detect?

The tests detect the active ingredients in cannabis, ecstasy and various types of amphetamines.

How is the test done?

It’s a simple saliva test. 

You’ll be asked to provide a sample of saliva, which will be tested on the spot. The test takes about five minutes.

If the result is positive, the police will do a second saliva test.

What happens if the roadside test is positive?

If your saliva tests positive for drugs in the second roadside drug test, your licence will be immediately suspended for 24 hours. Once 24 hours pass, you can drive again.

Another sample of your saliva, collected during the roadside test, will be sent to a government laboratory for testing.

The laboratory testing can take a month or longer. If drugs are detected in that sample, the police will contact you and charge you with drug driving.

What does ‘zero tolerance’ mean?

You’ll be charged if the laboratory detects any drugs at all in your saliva sample.

Different types of drugs take different lengths of time to leave your system.

The quantity of drugs taken and how frequently you take them can also influence the time it takes for all traces of the drugs to leave your saliva.

If in doubt, don’t drive.

What will my penalty be?

The penalty for a first-time drug driving offence is comprised of two things:

  • a fine of up to $1,540 or three months of imprisonment
  • the disqualification of your licence for one to nine months.

If you have a prior drink or drug driving conviction, the penalty is:

  • a fine of up to $2,200 or six months of imprisonment
  • a disqualification for three to 18 months.

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