Sergeant Marty Arnold says no to drug-driving as a specialist drug-testing squad is about to arrive in Bundaberg.
Sergeant Marty Arnold says no to drug-driving as a specialist drug-testing squad is about to arrive in Bundaberg. Mike Knott

Time's up for doped drivers

STONERS and pill-poppers who get behind the wheel will find themselves facing a magistrate, with Bundaberg police set to stamp out drug-driving.

The news comes after two doped-up drivers were caught within three hours yesterday morning — a 26-year-old man on Woongarra Street at 1.30am, and a 33-year-old man on Childers Road about 4.15am.

Bundaberg police Sergeant Marty Arnold said it was unusual to detect two drug-drivers in one evening, but it could soon become a lot more likely as drug-testing kits were introduced in Bundaberg.

“We have charged three people with driving under the influence of drugs this year, not including those two,” Sgt Arnold said.

But he said a specialist drug-testing squad was about to land in Bundaberg, and officers would soon have the power to conduct random tests for illegal substances.

“Roadside drug testing will be expanded to Bundaberg very soon,” he said.

When Bundaberg police are equipped with the special one-use drug-testing kits — which cost about $50 each — they will be able to take saliva samples from drivers they suspect of being under the influence.

“They can test for cannabis, speed and ecstasy, and have results with 99% accuracy within five minutes,” Sgt Arnold said.

“The tests are then sent away to an independent laboratory in Brisbane, where they undergo further analysis for use in court.”

He said the method would be more efficient than the current process for screening drug-drivers, which meant suspects had to be taken to hospital for a blood test.

“It will be a lot quicker and easier,” he said.

Sgt Arnold said many people who took drugs in nightclubs thought they would get away with driving because they did not drink alcohol.

“But if they are detected with drugs in their system, it is a comparable offence to high range drink-driving,” he said.

“They could be disqualified for years, plus face large fines or even jail.”



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