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The policy context of roadsie drug testing.

McDonald, D

Drink/Drug Driving


Roadside testing of oral fluids for a suite of illegal drugs has been taking place in Victoria since late 2004, is now operating in some form in all of Australia’s States and the Northern Territory. I suggest that the current roadside drug testing regimes have been introduced with insufficient rigour in the underlying policy analysis. The authorities state that it is a road safety initiative and not about punishing drivers for using illegal drugs, but this assertion can be challenged. The research evidence linking particular levels of drugs in the body and driving impairment is limited, no convincing evidence exists demonstrating that roadside drug testing improves traffic safety at the population level, the initiative fails to target some of the drugs the use of which has been demonstrated to be a traffic safety risk, the opportunity costs seem to have been ignored, and it may well fail the human rights test of proportionality.