Alcohol and drugs are often a factor when fatal road accidents occur. Drug testing for drivers was introduced in 2007 to help improve road safety.
When is the test given?
You could be tested for drugs at any time.
Drug testing is often done alongside random breath testing. Sometimes it will be a stand-alone random drug testing site.
What drugs does the test detect?
The tests detect the active ingredients in cannabis, ecstasy and various types of amphetamines.
How is the test done?
The test is a simple saliva test. You will be asked to provide a sample of saliva which will be tested on the spot. The test takes about 5 minutes.
If there is a positive result police will do a second saliva test.
If the second test is also positive a sample of your saliva will be sent to a government laboratory for testing.
What happens next if the roadside test is positive?
If your saliva tests positive for drugs for a second time in a roadside drug test your licence will be immediately suspended for 24 hours. After that 24 hours passes you can start driving again.
If drugs are detected in the sample that is sent to the government laboratory for testing the police will contact you and charge you with drug driving. The testing process can take a month or longer.
What is zero tolerance?
You will be charged if any drugs at all are detected in your saliva sample by the laboratory. You should be aware that different types of drugs take different lengths of time to leave your system. The quantity of drugs taken and how frequently they are taken can also influence the time it takes for no traces of the drugs to remain in your saliva.
If in doubt, don’t drive!
What will my penalty be?
The penalty for a first time drug driving offence is a fine of up to $1,540 or 3 months imprisonment and the disqualification of your licence for a minimum of 1 month and a maximum of 9 months. If you have a prior drink or drug driving conviction the disqualification the penalties go up to $2,200 or 6 months imprisonment and a disqualification of between 3 months and 18 months.