The Government wants to use booze buses to catch drug users as well as drunk drivers.
From the first of December, if police happen to stop you and suspect you are driving on drugs you could be asked to do an impairment test.
If you fail basic co-ordination exercises you will be blood tested for drugs.
There is a call to go even further and use booze buses to catch drug users, but unlike alcohol breathalysers, there is no easy and reliable scientific test for drugs.
“The tests available are not advanced enough at this point to be able to do that successfully and catch all the potential drugs that could be in people’s systems,” said Transport Minister Steven Joyce.
And there are concerns even the road side tests will be subjective or unfair.
“There’s no independent check as to whether you really did fail that walk the line test or whether the officer is just saying that because they don’t like the look of ya,” says NORML magazine editor Chris Fowlie.
He also says blood tests can indicate cannabis presence even if it was consumed days before.
The Drug Foundation says two thirds of over a thousand people surveyed admitted they had taken drugs then driven, and most were pretty cavalier about it.
“Eighty percent of cannabis users say their driving wasn’t changed or was even better, and so that’s a worrying attitude,” said Ross Bell.
The Drug Foundation hopes to drive home one simple message about drug driving; that it is a risky business and it should not be done.
But Bell says it will be a long time before people take that message in.
By Sia Aston
September 10, 2009