• Drivers involved in crashes that cause a fatality or seriously injure someone will be subjected to mandatory blood tests for drugs
• Laws will be the first of their kind in Australia, making Victoria’s regime the toughest in the country
• Napthine Government building a safer Victoria
The Napthine Government has continued its crackdown on motorists who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells today announced that any driver involved in an accident which kills or seriously injures someone else will be subjected to a mandatory blood test for drugs.
“There will be no exceptions and there will be no excuses when there is an accident that results in someone losing their life or someone suffering alife changing injury,” Mr Wells said.
“Victoria will be the first state in Australia to introduce this stringent new law and will also be the first jurisdiction to test for heroin.”
Mr Wells said the new legislation was another important law and order commitment that the Napthine Government had delivered on.
“We signalled our intention to get rid of the legal loophole, and as a Government we have made it happen,” Mr Wells said.
“The change takes away any ambiguity with regard to discretionary police powers.”
Mr Wells said the prevalence of illicit drugs – including ice – was contributing to deaths on our roads.
“You just have to look at the figures – 26 per cent of all fatalities last year involved drivers who tested positive to drugs.
“Thirty-nine drivers who were killed in road accidents had cannabis, ecstasy or methamphetamines – including ice – in their system.
“And just as horrifying is that 24 people were killed and another 121 people were injured by drivers who returned a positive drug test.”
Mr Wells said the Napthine Government’s tough law and order policy includes a zero tolerance approach to those who decide to take the wheel while under the influence of ice, other drugs or alcohol.
“The message here is you will be caught.
“This follows on from the Napthine Government’s announcement last month that roadside drug tests will more than double to 100,000 next year.
“For the first time highway patrols will be equipped with the tests – drivers will not be able to escape, especially over the next few months and into summer when Melbourne and Victoria celebrate the Spring Racing Carnival, Christmas and the New Year,” Mr Wells said.
Mr Wells said the Road Safety Act 1986 will be amended to incorporate the changes, with the new legislation introduced to Parliament today.
Media contact: Mike Bennett 0412 901 229