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Mandatory random roadside drug testing of truck drivers, nightclub patrons and the general driving population in Victoria, Australia

Haworth, Narelle L. & Lenne, Michael (2007) Mandatory random roadside drug testing of truck drivers, nightclub patrons and the general driving population in Victoria, Australia. In International Conference on Alcohol Drugs and Traffic Safety (T2007), 26-30 August, Seattle, USA.

Abstract

In December 2003, the Parliament of Victoria passed the Road Safety (Drug Driving) Act 2003 to provide for random drug testing of drivers and to create new offences for failing a drug test. The Act made it illegal to drive with any concentration of methamphetamine or Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol present in the blood or oral fluid. Testing commenced on 13 December 2004, with three target drug user groups: truck drivers, nightclub or ‘rave party’ attendees, and the general driving population. This paper presents the results collected during the first six months of the program as part of a process evaluation conducted to allow reporting to Government before the sunset clause of the legislation expired. The roadside procedure commenced with random breath testing for alcohol, followed by a preliminary oral fluid test. If positive, a second oral fluid test or blood test was taken. Confirmatory tests on positive roadside samples were conducted in the laboratory. For the evaluation, Victoria Police provided de-identified data on number, location, time and outcomes of random drug tests. Outcomes of the laboratory confirmatory analyses were provided by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. Of the 6,657 preliminary oral fluid tests conducted in the first six months, 2.5% were positive to one or both drugs. Laboratory analyses found that 142 oral fluid and blood samples were positive for one or more drugs (2.1% of roadside tests). Drug prevalence was higher in the sessions targeting nightclub attendees (4.7%) than truck drivers (1.6%) or the general public (0.9%). MDMA (ecstasy) was detected in the laboratory analysis of 1.2% of drivers. Sessions targeting nightclub attendees also resulted in a higher prevalence of drivers exceeding the legal blood alcohol limit (0.05% BAC or 0.02% for novice and professional drivers). These drivers were not drug tested, which may have reduced the overall estimates of prevalence of drug driving. These results confirm the findings of previous studies that show nightclub attendees have a high prevalence of drug driving but conflict with other studies that would predict higher levels of methamphetamine among truck drivers.

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ID Code: 11973
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the conference website (see hypertext link) or contact the authors.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: drug testing, law enforcement, oral fluid testing
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult authors)
Deposited On: 16 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2009 15:29

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