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Drug driving anarchy kills a somebody

Candor Trust - for immediate release

Drug driving anarchy kills a somebody

The low priority ranking Labour has accorded to the drug driving bill is not only contributing to record road tolls, it has now killed a local sporting personality. Evidence of methadone and recent impairing cannabis use were found in the blood of a drug addict driver whose maniacal "space cadet" driving killed Waitara League Rep Kent Martin (36).

Candor Trust say it is probable the latest killing on January 22nd, by yet another poorly supervised methadone patient Richard Burgess, after he cocktailed the prescribed heroin substitute with pot smoking then drove would have been prevented; if Police had been confered adequate powers to intervene in his offending cycle 3 days prior - and could collect spit samples.

On January 20th three days before committing highway homicide, Burgess who is now a self confessed impaired driving killer, was booked at Tariki for dangerous driving - in the absence of Police having compulsory drug testing powers. That "contact" was when the law screwed up, signing Kent Martins death warrant, say Candor Trust.

Drugged driving is drugged driving - not careless or dangerous driving (the default charges). Had Burgess been drug tested as a result of the dangerous driving activity, and had he tested positive which seems likely based on his traffic record and lifestyle, and had he been suspended from driving on the 20th (as ought be occurring with drug cocktailing drivers), then history would not be repeating.

What we have instead, say Candor Trust, is rampant drug driving maniacs who believe the daytime is their killing time - no problem identification and therefore no apt intervention. It's the same old story that powerless frontline Police and Emergency services see repeated, over and over, with these drug abusing methadone users.

The Candor Trust was actually founded due to the actions of one, who killed an innocent old lady in 2004 after Marlborough Police had also dropped the ball over a prior drug crash. For a 3 car drug driving write off, the Marlborough methadone killer was charged only with "careless driving" and sent to traffic school to hone his drug driving skills. All so that he could kill 40 days later.

Next came the killing of Christchurch pensioner Ron Duff on his mobility scooter by methadone patient Nadine Atkinson, who also had an extensive traffic record. One that had blinked and missed the drug abuse component - resulting in the obviously unfit driver retaining a license to kill.

At lunchtime on January 22nd, prior to the latest methadone related homicide, Burgess stopped at Waitara's Challenge service station, narrowly missing a concrete wall because of his speed. His methadone levels would have been peaking. Burgess then closely tailgated another vehicle while travelling along State Highway 3 - perhaps as he toked heavily on a joint. Both drugs affect spatial perception.

Approaching an intersection near Brixton, the car in front of him moved to the left to avoid a stationary vehicle waiting to make a right turn. Burgess failed to react to the changing environment and ploughed into the back of the car, shunting it into the path of Martin's oncoming vehicle.

Burgess was "driving blind" too bombed to brake at any point, and two people in the vehicle Burgess hit from behind were also injured in the crash. Richard Burgess, admitted driving under the influence of the drug cocktail causing injury and death in the 3 car collision.

Perhaps the Government would also like to raise it's hand and admit that for the lack of administering a $20 saliva test on the Burgess killer on the 20th of January, 3 days later Emergency Services chalked up a million dollar bill. Oh, and some guy Kent Martin was also most horribly killed. Or will it take for a politicians child to be killed before we see interest and action?

Candors Spokesperson Rachael Ford comments "Our staff are getting battle fatigue dealing with the mounting pile of drug driving victims that the anarchic state of impaired driving laws in New Zealand creates. When is Government going to deal with road safety's taboo biggie?

In cahoots with methadone services which breach the Land Transport Act's reporting requirements, the Government with it's lax ostrich like attitude to drug driving, is building a proud record for killing off of innocent citizens. Labour is knowingly and recklessly defaulting on providing a law and order package, the one most important to protect the safety and security of New Zealanders today.

To be funding only 400 driver drug tests per year Nationally, when they pass the drug driving bill sometime next century is not preventive. That will only enable detection only of serious cases after the event. Government must fund ten times that number of tests to catch these dangerous drivers, at red flag crashes prior to killings. If blood tests in the first instance are too costly, saliva screening tests must be used.


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