Statistics from the past 10 years show the number of roadside breath tests has trended down over the past five years, prior to a significant drop due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Random breath tests for drink drivers in the ACT dropped by more than half last year, after ACT Policing conducted 39,355 alcohol tests, compared with 90,281 in the previous year.
The ACT initially held out from stopping roadside testing during the pandemic, after states and territories such as NSW, Queensland and Western Australia stopped operations in March 2020.
But an ACT Policing spokesman revealed that mass random breath testing activities were eventually suspended.
There were 247 mass roadside testing stations in 2020, compared with 745 in the year prior.
"ACT Policing suspended mass random breath testing activities and moved to a more targeted strategy to conduct alcohol breath tests on road users who had been stopped by police for driving offences including erratic driving or speeding," the spokesman said.
While mass roadside tests were suspended, police said the drop in random breath tests was due to fewer drivers on the road but the spokesman said the rate of drink and drug drivers caught remained similar.
"In 2020, there was a noticeable decrease in the number of road users particularly during the initial lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions, which also affected where people could consume alcohol," the spokesman said.
"It is important to note there was no noticeable decrease in positive samples for either drug of alcohol driving offences during this period.
"So while fewer drivers may have been tested, comparatively there continued to be a similar success rate in the number of people who tested positive for either drug or drunk driving."
But figures show the number of random breath tests had been dropping prior to the pandemic.
In 2014, police conducted 150,895 breath tests, this fell to 121,416 in 2015 and 117,717 in 2016.
This dropped to below 100,000 in 2017 with 92,376 tests conducted and there were 89,989 tests in 2018.
The numbers were revealed by ACT Police Minister Mick Gentleman in an answer to a questions on notice from police opposition spokesman Jeremy Hanson.
It showed that police conduct far fewer drug-driving tests, compared with drink-driving tests.
In the eight months to March 2021, police conducted 1638 random drug tests. In the previous year there were 3541 drug tests undertaken.
Mr Gentleman said police didn't conduct drug-only mass testing sessions.
Last year there were only two mass random testing events which tested for both drugs and alcohol.
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