Random drug testing of drivers in Victoria
Keywords: Drink/Drug Driving
Submission Date: 2007
Victoria has had a legislative framework to randomly screen drivers for the presence of alcohol at
prohibited levels since 1976. The past thirty years has seen a significant reduction of the contribution
of alcohol to road trauma in Victoria through the general deterrent effect of this type of enforcement.
The emergence of increased involvement of drugs other than alcohol drug in road trauma in Victoria
led to legislation being introduced in 2000 to detect and prosecute drives found to be impaired by
drugs other than alcohol. The drug impaired driving legislation is based on the recognition of
observable impairment in drivers. The impairment based program does not provide a high level of
general deterrence from using drugs and driving as the enforcement is not highly visible.
In December 2004 a legislative framework for the random drug screening of drivers modelled on the
successful random alcohol screening methodology was introduced in Victoria. The framework
prohibits driving while methamphetamine (MA), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and
cannabis (THC) is present at any level and, for police to randomly drug test drivers for the presence of
the drugs by oral fluid (saliva) sample screening at the roadside. The new drug screening program has
the potential to substantially reduce the contribution of drug use to road trauma in Victoria in the same
way as the alcohol screening program has over the past thirty years. The results of the random drug
screening program thus far clearly indicate this potential may be realised.