ACT News

Canberra police record jump in drugged drivers over summer

Police say roughly one in six Canberra drivers failed roadside drug tests in the last three months, prompting concerns that impaired drivers are not getting the message. 

ACT Policing targeted drink and drug affected drivers as part of its multi-agency road safety initiative between November and January.

Traffic Operations Station Sergeant Rod Anderson last year
Traffic Operations Station Sergeant Rod Anderson last year Photo: Jamila Toderas

Police carried out 508 roadside drug tests finding 82 drivers under the influence of illicit drugs, and 45,014 roadside random breath tests finding 163 drink drivers.

Last year police detected 301 drink and 48 drug drivers during the same period. Officer-in-charge of traffic operations, Station Sergeant Rod Anderson said the notable increase of drug impaired drivers has raised concerns.

"Perhaps drivers are starting to get the message about drink driving, but we want motorists to know that driving under the influence of drugs is potentially fatal – not just for you but for everyone around you on the road."

ACT Policing are both pleased and disappointed with the findings and are eager to remind people of the consequences of driving under the influence.

"Drug and alcohol impaired drivers pose the highest risk on our roads. By removing alcohol and drug impaired drivers from our roads, overall community safety is improved," Sergeant Anderson said.

The varying results also revealed that half of the drivers who tested positive were repeat offenders. 

"Perhaps there is a little bit of complacency but every ACT Policing vehicle is capable of undertaking random breath testing, so people need to be aware if driving under the influence in the ACT they will be stopped and caught."

The high numbers of drug impaired drivers have prompted ACT Policing, together with the ACT government, to introduce new ways of educating motorists about the risks of drug driving.

ACT Policing want motorists to view the results as a warning and have announced they are targeting speeding drivers in February.