Push for roadside drug blitz
ACT Police would be empowered to conduct random roadside drug testing for cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamine use under new laws proposed by the ACT Opposition.
Opposition police spokesman Jeremy Hanson will table in the Legislative Assembly this week a Bill seeking to give police powers to drug-test motorists by means of an oral swab, similar to provisions already in place in every other Australian jurisdiction.
Under the proposed laws, motorists testing positive to the drugs would face the same penalties as low-range drink-drivers, which in the ACT is a fine not exceeding $500 and a default licence disqualification period of six months for a first offence.
The proposed laws have the backing of Calwell mother Alison Ryan, whose 15-year-old daughter, Amy, was killed in a two-vehicle crash last year in a car being driven by a drugged driver.
Amy was a passenger in a car being driven by her 18-year-old friend, Ashleigh Jane Williams, who was found to have ecstasy and another drug, MDA, in her blood. Williams was injured. She was sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court in August to a two-year good-behaviour bond, 12 months of probation, 240 hours of community service and she was banned from driving for 18 months. A 15-month jail term was fully suspended.
Ms Ryan said she believed random drug testing on the roads and better education of young people would deter people from driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. She called on the ACT Government to support the Bill.
''I just can't understand why every other state in Australia has roadside drug testing and the ACT doesn't,'' Ms Ryan said.
BY VICTOR VIOLANTE, CHIEF ASSEMBLY REPORTER
07 Dec, 2009 08:27 AM