We will get you

Drug driv­ing crack­down has po­lice say­ing . . .

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE -

Ran­dom drug test­ing is de­liv­er­ing ‘‘dis­ap­point­ing’’ yet ‘‘un­sur­pris­ing’’ re­sults in the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Po­lice In­spec­tor Jy Brown.

The new road­side test­ing sys­tem was im­ple­mented in the po­lice com­mand ear­lier this month.

In the first week alone 10 driv­ers al­legedly tested pos­i­tive for il­licit sub­stances in the road­side and sec­ondary test­ing.

Drug test­ing was car­ried out in the re­gion over the week­end, in­clud­ing at Tocumwal on Satur­day night.

Dur­ing this op­er­a­tion a 39 year-old Co­bram man al­legedly tested pos­i­tive for metham­phetamines in a road­side drug test.

Po­lice con­ducted the test as part of a ran­dom breath test stop on Ba­rooga Rd at Tocumwal about 9.40pm.

The driver was taken to De­niliquin Po­lice Sta­tion for sec­ondary test­ing, which po­lice will also al­lege was pos­i­tive. A saliva sam­ple has been sent for more thor­ough test­ing, which will de­ter­mine if any charges are to be laid. The man was sus­pended from driv­ing for 24 hours.

Insp Brown said there had been a steady stream of pos­i­tive tests recorded across the en­tire com­mand re­gion.

He said po­lice are send­ing a clear mes­sage that any­one driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence will be caught.

‘‘Drug driv­ing will con­tinue to be a fo­cus of po­lice, just like drink driv­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘The re­sults of the road­side drugs tests con­ducted to date are not sur­pris­ing, and our early fig­ures seem to be on par with pos­i­tive de­tec­tions across the state.’’

De­niliquin Po­lice In­spec­tor John Aichinger said the Lo­cal Area Com­mand now has ac­cess to three of the test­ing in­stru­ments and these are based in De­niliquin, Hay and Moama.

It is ex­pected more will be­come avail­able in other ar­eas as lo­cal in­volve­ment in this pro­gram pro­gresses.

Insp Aichinger said the over­all aim is to pro­tect lo­cals and vis­i­tors in the re­gion.

‘‘Be­tween 2013 and the end of 2016 there were nine fatal crashes in the De­niliquin Po­lice Com­mand, and four of those were due to peo­ple be­ing un­der the in­flu­ence,’’ Insp Aichinger said.

‘‘Of those four, three were drug re­lated. The prob­lem is out there and it is af­fect­ing the safety of this com­mu­nity.

‘‘This pro­gram is there to tar­get and com­bat that, first and fore­most.

‘‘It is an of­fence to drive a mo­tor ve­hi­cle, at­tempt to put a ve­hi­cle into mo­tion or to su­per­vise a learner driver whilst un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs, or with any amount of il­licit drug in your sys­tem.’’

Insp Aichinger said the new road­side drug test­ing pro­gram would run in con­junc­tion with ex­ist­ing po­lice pow­ers, which in­cludes de­mand­ing blood and urine test­ing for driv­ers who po­lice deem to be vis­i­bly af­fected by a sub­stance.

He said po­lice would also con­tinue to call on the state’s drug bus dur­ing larger op­er­a­tions.

The drug test­ing de­vices have been specif­i­cally de­signed to pick up on il­licit drugs only and do not re­act to pre­scrip­tion or over the counter medicines.

A pos­i­tive road­side drug test gives po­lice the power to ban a per­son from driv­ing for 24 hours, but of­fi­cial charges de­pend on the re­sults of lab­o­ra­tory test­ing.

‘‘It’s a saliva test — a tongue scrape — and if the ran­dom road­side test is pos­i­tive the driver un­der­takes a sec­ondary test at the sta­tion. Each test can take be­tween three and five min­utes,’’ Insp Aichinger said.

‘‘A saliva sam­ple is also taken to be sent to Syd­ney for test­ing.’’

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