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ESR needs more than blood in its hands

ESR needs more than blood in its hands

Candor Trust

Pursuant this weeeks drug driving conference in Wellington The Candor Trust disputes the "stick in mud" stance of the ESR, which RNZ reports as knocking proposals by the Trust and the AA to legislate now to enable random saliva drug testing, on the pedantic hand-wringing basis that it doesn't work for all drugs, and blood samples are more reliable.

It had been well illuminated by the U.S. expert Christine Moore at a Candor drug driving conference yesterday that at least 90% of the drug driving problem is traceable to a select few drugs, so therefore the problem is not overwhelming at all.

Saliva tests are highly indicative of impairment for these drugs, and though there are still a few too many false negatives for one risk drug class, they’re proven to be strongly deterrent life savers, and can always be supported by field and blood tests as a second line if it is thought someone may have a false pass result.

Current legislation that only allows suspects to be pulled over and put through arduous fitness tests before drug testing is not deterrent, and similar has not succeeded in reducing drug driver tolls overseas.

The modern approach is to legislate to allow saliva testing at the current state of tech development, or in readiness for pending improvements. Results cost but they pay of in 6:1 cost benefits in reduced crash costs (Druid project, Europe).

Victoria and other succeeding Governments spend millions on saliva testing thousands yearly, whereas the Dominion Post has reported that we only field test 300 of the worst suspects, which is not deterrent.

Despite that this is the outgoing failed approach in other OECD countries, the National Government passed mouldering legislation that Labour had created without proper scrutiny, and making up to date adjustments.

But the drug driving toll is too high for complacency. If NZ is to catch up with Australia a rigorous deterrence based response is required. What is Steven Joyce scared of - losing the young vote because youth experiment with drugs.

Given dead drivers under 25 more often have used cannabis than alcohol he should be far more afraid of the results of such experiments. The ESR needs more than blood in it's hands if the Transport Minister is to rise above dereliction of duty and wipe his clean of over 100 deaths p.a.

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