Cloud hangs over drug testing details

Being in a room with a joint smoker at a party is unlikely to see you busted by a random roadside drug test, with local solicitor Steve Bolt (pictured) describing the scenario as a remote possibility.

Steve, who spoke at an INTRA information session in Nimbin this week about the new roadside drug testing, said it was difficult to give people a clear idea of how the new testing would work as they themselves would not know all the details until it was implemented.

Speed, ecstasy and THC (cannabis) are the drugs that will be screened for by the random roadside drug tests, and the NSW Government has claimed there will be stringent criteria on accuracy and reliability.

However, Mr Bolt is concerned that the tests wont be graded in a similar way to alcohol.

They will measure if there is a substance present or not, but there will be no grading of the substance thats present the level may have no impairment on someones driving, but they would still be guilty of the offence, Mr Bolt said. We believe its unfair to be guilty of a driving offence if a person has consumed a drug some hours before driving and theres no impairment effect, but merely a trace of the drug in their saliva. Laws about road safety should address the impact on peoples driving. If these laws were purely about detecting impairment we wouldnt have a problem.

Initially there will be just one drug testing truck for the whole of NSW, and 5000 motorists will be tested in the first year.

At this stage it is unclear when the first tests will begin.

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