Trevor Mallard at Red Alert is seeking feedback on two issues:
- If someone fails a breath test then all action related to driving while impaired with drugs ceases. The evidence the committee got made it very clear that using booze and other drugs together had a multiplicitive effect when it came to having accidents. In an extreme case an offender would get a lesser penalty by having a quick drink when stopped at a checkpoint while high on “P”. Doesn’t seem right to me. My view is that where someone is clearly more impaired than they should be with a given breath test reading then the Police should have the right to move down the drug testing route as well.
- When someone is hospitalised then blood taken can be used for a drink but not a drug drive charge. In my opinion anyone who has active class A drugs in their system should be prosecuted – even if they have had an accident where they have been hospitalised.
I’ve personally long been an advocate for greater scrutiny of drug driving, not just drunk driving.
However I understand that one of the real challenges is that drugs stay in your body a lot longer than alcohol, and long after it impairs you. I’m not sure if we want people charged if they drive a car two weeks after they had a joint?
Trevor though is talking Class Drugs such as ‘P”. The schedule of Class A drugs is here. It even includes Thalidomide!
Again though – how long does Cocaine effect someone and how long does it stay in the body? Is it fair to face extra charges for having taken coke two weeks before you crash the car? Some will say yes, as coke (unlike alcohol) is illegal.
Also Trevor’s proposal does not seem to be suggesting random drug testing – only for those who have failed a breath test and/or caused a crash and been hospitalised.
Overall I would tend to be in favour of the proposals, but open to arguments against.