Following the completion of an ANU study into random drug-driving, it appears the ACT government will shortly follow the several states in introducing random drug-driving tests. The tests, involving a saliva swab, can detect the presence of marijuana, methamphetamine (ice) and ecstacy.
While on the surface this might seem an obvious if not inevitable progression in our society’s endless quest to wrap us all in damp squib and deliver us, demented but whole, unto our ever-increasing average lifespan, there is much that remains in doubt about the need, efficacy and fairness of this initiative.
There is no question that taking illegal drugs can impair ones ability to drive. And to remember where you were going. But so can recklessness, distraction, fatigue, prescription drugs, stupidity etc. And there is little hard data that conclusively pins illegal drug taking as a major contributor to road accidents. There are studies showing varying percentages of road deaths exhibiting traces of illegal drugs, but none to definitively prove that those percentages are statistically over-representated, ie. if 20% of the community are stoned at any one time, and 10% of road deaths exhibit traces of THC, pot could actually make people safer drivers. It’s not as silly as it sounds. It’s a lot harder to have an accident at 32 kmh.