Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Hardy
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Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby Hardy » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:23 pm

Herald Sun has a campaign to send drug drivers to jail:
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/specia ... b4?login=1

Apparently they think drug drivers can't go to jail!

Under s.49(1)(a) Road Safety Act, a serious drug driving offence can get you 3 months imprisonment for a first offence, and up to 18 months imprisonment if you have more than 1 prior drink driving or drug driving offences.

If you drive while impaired by a drug (s.49(1)(ba) Road Safety Act) you can get 12 months jail if you have any previous drink or drug driving offences, and 18 months jail if you have 2 or more prior drink or drug driving prior offences.

You have to wonder what the cops and HS are banging on about. We already have laws to jail people who drive while affected by drugs. Driving dangerously - whether you are affected by drugs or not - carries up to 2 years imprisonment. If you injure or kill someone the jail terms can get much longer.

What the law does not do is allow for jail of drivers who are not affected by drugs. If you test positive for a drug but you show no indication of being affected the penalty is mandatory licence loss and a fine. Seems the police want these very low end offenders to be eligible for prison too? It is pointless though, because no court is going to send to jail a driver who shows no indication of being affected by a drug. Even if they provided a 10 year jail term for testing positive at a road side oral swab, no court is ever going to activate it. The reason the penalty for testing positive at the road side swab is at the low end is because all those offenders are at the low end. Often the amounts detected are barely measurable. The drivers who are seriously doped up never make it as far as a booze bus.

Even new “cocktail laws” targeting those who are caught drunk and on drugs while driving do not have jail sentences attached to a range of penalties including fines, vehicle impoundment, licence disqualification and having an interlock for up to four years.

That's rubbish. The same jail options exist for that offence as they do for the traditional drink driving offences. A four year interlock is possible only for someone who has prior offences in the last 10 years. A 6 to 18 month jail term can be imposed on someone who has had prior offences during their lifetime.

A typical first time drink driving or drug driving offender can not go to jail simply for being over the limit. The exception is when they are charged with DUI (s.49.1.a) in which case the penalty can be 3 months jail for a first offence. And the penalty can be years in jail if you cause an accident and kill someone whilst affected by alcohol or a drug. For the article to suggest that drugged drivers who kill people are not eligible for jail is ridiculous. The jail penalties for drink driving and drug driving are largely the same.

What the complaint seems to be about is that people who fail an oral fluid test can't go to jail no matter how many times they fail an oral fluid test. The oral fluid test is the most recent of the 3 layers of legislation tackling drug driving. It is designed to detected trace elements of drug in a peron's body. It is not designed to determine whether or not a person is impaired by the drug. if they find the slightest trace of prescribed drug in your body you commit the offence. Until they can equate concentration of drug with a level of impairment it is unrealistic to jail people who may be unaware that their body contains trace elements of a drug that could have been consumed some days prior. Cannibis is detectable in a blood test many weeks after consumption. This level of detection was not intended to result in jail penalties, because the jail penalties already existed under the impaired driving provisions.

stroppy
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Re: Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby stroppy » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:05 pm

I fully agree with you on this, Hardy. The Herald Sun seems to jump on any bandwagon it thinks will enamour it to Vicpol and the poorly-educated knee-jerk reactionists in the general public.

My only worry with drug testing concerns prescription medication. I take a couple of medications which have a label stating that they "MAY" impair one's driving however my GP says I am okay to drive and I can't say the medications make me feel one way or the other. I'm as careful a driver as I've ever been. My worry is that these roadside tests might ping me for taking something I medically required to take.

allde
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Re: Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby allde » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:10 pm

stroppy wrote: My worry is that these roadside tests might ping me for taking something I medically required to take.


If your legal medication impairs your driving that would be illegal, which would lead to a penalty.


Driving while impaired by a drug

First offence Immediate licence suspension/Fine (12 penalty units)
Minimum 12 months licence cancellation

Potential conviction recorded



Second offence Immediate licence suspension/Fine (120 penalty units),
or 12 months imprisonment

Minimum 2 years licence cancellation

Potential conviction recorded



More than two offences Immediate licence suspension/Fine (180 penalty units),
or 18 months imprisonment

Minimum 2 years licence cancellation

Potential conviction recorded

Question, with Saliva samples if more than 3 hours have past since you last drove a motor vehicle, under the Road Safety Act. Sections 55A(2) and 55D(8) provides that drivers can legally refuse to provide a sample if more than three hours have elapsed since driving, does this apply for drugs as well?

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Re: Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby Hardy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:46 pm

Yes it does.

stroppy
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Re: Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby stroppy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:20 pm

allde wrote:
stroppy wrote: My worry is that these roadside tests might ping me for taking something I medically required to take.


If your legal medication impairs your driving that would be illegal, which would lead to a penalty.


Driving while impaired by a drug

First offence Immediate licence suspension/Fine (12 penalty units)
Minimum 12 months licence cancellation

Potential conviction recorded



Second offence Immediate licence suspension/Fine (120 penalty units),
or 12 months imprisonment

Minimum 2 years licence cancellation

Potential conviction recorded



More than two offences Immediate licence suspension/Fine (180 penalty units),
or 18 months imprisonment

Minimum 2 years licence cancellation

Potential conviction recorded

Question, with Saliva samples if more than 3 hours have past since you last drove a motor vehicle, under the Road Safety Act. Sections 55A(2) and 55D(8) provides that drivers can legally refuse to provide a sample if more than three hours have elapsed since driving, does this apply for drugs as well?


But, my friend, the medications do not, and have not, ever impaired my driving so being fined is the least of my worries in this situation. I am more concerned about the swipe test but being that the medications are not opiates or pain-killers, pseudo-ephedrine based or marijuana based then I think I am okay. Thanks for your detailed reply.

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Re: Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby Hardy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:52 pm

What will happen to drivers who use medical cannabis and are asked to do POFT? Could it show a positive?

stroppy
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Re: Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby stroppy » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:00 pm

Hardy wrote:What will happen to drivers who use medical cannabis and are asked to do POFT? Could it show a positive?


It depends upon what type of cannabis is being used. If they are taking oils derived from flax then the level of THC (the narcotic the test gauges) is negligible. If they are taking a tincture based on the bud of the plant it will be rich in THC and it WILL register, same as if they are smoking it. I suppose in this case a doctor would have to provide evidence as to fitness to drive and a letter (if judged fit to drive) to show any police office stopping you for a drug-driving swab test.

There's a system already in place where a person can undergo a fitness to drive examination if they have a chronic medical condition.

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Re: Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby Hardy » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:10 pm

I suppose in this case a doctor would have to provide evidence as to fitness to drive and a letter (if judged fit to drive) to show any police office stopping you for a drug-driving swab test.

Sorry, cannabis driving is an absolute liability offence, so if they detect a positive result no excuses or exemptions can possibly apply. It is a mandatory 3 month disqualification period.

stroppy
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Re: Herald Sun campaign to make life tougher for drug drivers

Postby stroppy » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:35 pm

Hardy wrote:
I suppose in this case a doctor would have to provide evidence as to fitness to drive and a letter (if judged fit to drive) to show any police office stopping you for a drug-driving swab test.

Sorry, cannabis driving is an absolute liability offence, so if they detect a positive result no excuses or exemptions can possibly apply. It is a mandatory 3 month disqualification period.

Well that being the case a treating doctor would have to tell a patient that their driving privilege is revoked until they are no longer taking the cannabis-based medication.


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