Government is set to crack down on drug driving

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Words: NZ Autocar
30 Jul 2020

The Government is introducing a new law to give Police the power to conduct random roadside drug testing of drivers, according to Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter and Minister of Police Stuart Nash.

“This Government is committed to reducing drug-related harm in our communities. This new law will allow Police to test if drivers are under the influence of drugs anywhere, anytime, just as they do now for alcohol,” said Nash.

“We need to do more to stop impaired drivers getting behind the wheel,” said Genter. Over 100 fatalities last year were attributed to drug driving.

The Bill allows Police to take saliva samples to check drivers for THC (cannabis), methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), and benzodiazepines.

Drivers who test positive for the presence of drugs will be fined, suspended from driving for 12 hours, and lose half their demerit points. They will also face harsher criminal penalties when blood tests confirm the presence of these drugs.

Genter said that driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol makes drivers more likely to speed, lose control of the vehicle, or crash. She added that road safety is a priority for this Government, and no loss of life on our roads is acceptable.

Specific criminal limits for blood levels of illegal drugs will be decided by an independent expert panel.

National’s Drug Reform spokesperson, Nick Smith, concurs, on behalf of his party, applauding the introduction of the drug driving amendment bill. He commented “We know random roadside drug testing saves lives from the experience overseas”.

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