More than 4000 people have signed a petition calling on the NSW Police to immediately end their flawed roadside drug testing operations.
The petition wants police to replace the regime with an evidence-based scheme that reliably tests for impairment and that covers all the drugs, legal and illegal, that pose the greatest risk for road safety.
The petition, started by Greens MLC David Shoebridge, is directed at the NSW Police Minister Troy Grant, and the NSW Police Force.
Mr Showbridge maintains that the current roadside drug-testing regime is arbitrary, invasive and has no relationship to the impairment of drivers.
‘The NSW Police openly admit they are testing drivers for the mere presence of drugs and that the levels they are testing for have no connection with impairment,’ he said.
‘These tests are then used to take people’s drivers licenses for up to 12 months and to impose additional heavy fines on them.’
Mr Shoebridge points out that the current testing regime fails to test for prescription drugs that are known to impair driving ability, while other opponents have pointed out that drugs such as cocaine are not tested for.
He said the government of the United Kingdom had undertaken a detailed review that identified the level of drugs, legal and illegal, that actually impair drivers.
‘This is the best evidence available and could allow police to undertake a credible drug testing program that delivered safer roads by removing drug impaired drivers from them.
‘However the NSW police and government are ignoring this evidence.’
He said the alcohol testing programs had been supported by the community because they tested for levels of alcohol that actually impair drivers.
The petition, which can be found at change.org, is aiming to reach 5000 signatures.
Meanwhile, north coast cannabis users will be protesting outside Lismore MP Thomas George’s office later this month as part of their continued opposition to roadside drug testing for cannabis.
The gathering is expected to ask Mr George to speak with National Party leader Troy Grant about the impacts the roadside testing regime is having in the region.
At a similar protest last month, about 50 people gathered outside the Lismore courthouse, while more than 50 people appeared before a magistrate inside the court, charged with drug driving.
Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the peaceful protest outside Mr George’s office would be held on Monday, January 25, at 11am.
In a letter to Mr George, Mr Balderstone said he did not expect any trouble, but would rather be asking Mr George to take a letter and a book to Mr Grant, who is also the police minister.
‘It is disappointing to see so many drivers continuing to drive with drugs or alcohol in their system,’ a media release from Tweed/Byron police read.
Three people were arrested for either drink- or drug-affected driving in Byron Bay over the weekend, including one driver who allegedly fled after an accident.
A Lismore man who was caught by police four times allegedly driving while disqualified and under the influence of ice and cannabis was carrying a knife and knuckle dusters when he was arrested.
Police have charged a man who crashed his car into a tree at Chinderah and then fall out of it onto the ground with multiple drugs charges.
Lismore magistrate David Heilpern has questioned the NSW Government’s claim that cannabis can only be detected in a person’s saliva up to 12 hours.