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Drug Driving Bill Urgent

Drug Driving Bill Urgent

Candor Trust say the road toll crisis, with past year fatalities increasing an average of 20 persons yearly since March 2006, shows the drug driving legislation must immediately be given urgency. Drug misuse is only a nose behind alcohol as fuel for the toll, and Labour can't remain complacent.

Risk drug use motored past illicit alcohol levels in deceased driver blood samples in the last decade, and unexplained inattention (not featuring alcohol) is far and away the leading causal factor of injury or fatal crashes per Polices latest road safety progress report.

The regions experiencing the worst toll increases are also high drug arrest areas, yet the requests of a concerned Police Force for powers to conduct random drug tests were sadlly knocked back last year during inter-departmental negotiations about the shape of the drug driving bill.

The LTNZ imposed media ban on drug driving education, with which Police are forced to comply, is unique among First World Countries (all have major drug driving campaigns). Candor regards it as criminally negligent considering they should be well aware drugs are neck and neck with excess speed as the leading factor in New Zealands horrendous youth toll.

"They would rather concentrate patrols outside schools at 3pm and broadcast teachers winging about the invented phenomenon of school crossing speedsters in some oddball PR exercise meant to portray concern, despite that only 1% of New Zealands road toll features child pedestrian deaths" (Source - Police's September 2007 Road Safety Progress Report).

"We have youth targeted drink driving action and penalties that work, speeding adverts and campaigns do not sufficiently target the youth market, and the other big issue of drugs is completely untended".

Candor believe that a working group should be formed, inclusive of involved Government and N.G.O.s, to consider a graduated penalty regime that targets higher risk taking by drug drivers with stiffer penalties, "we have overseas models for this and can look to the drink driving penalty regime which targets extra high blood alcohols".

Non recent pot use does not increase crash risk. However recent cannabis use and poly-drugging such as use of low levels of alcohol with other drugs creates the same extreme crash risk as being at twice the blood alcohol limit - the new penalty regime should aim to curtail the behaviour of highest harm potential.

Random drug testing in Adelaide found 336 drug drivers midst 10,886 people tested in a recent year - a higher detection rate than drink driving, 80 had used a combination of drugs and an unknown number had mixed drugs with licit or illicit alcohol intakes.

Dealing to this killer issue intelligently seems mountainously more urgent than tackling "tagging," yet the slow moving bill before the House is underpowered and rough - in that it fails to deliver by tailoring punishments to fit the offence level. Repeat drug drivers also get softer treatment than repeat drink drivers.


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