Mum’s grief, anger

Son’s life could have been saved from drugged driver

Sunday Star-Times - - NEWS -

A wo­man whose son was killed by a driver on metham­phetamine is dis­ap­pointed a bill al­low­ing road­side drug-driv­ing tests has been thrown out. The bill would have in­tro­duced ran­dom road­side saliva drug tests, but was voted out af­ter its first read­ing in Par­lia­ment last week, with 56 votes for and 63 against. Lee-ann Forster of Christchurch said ran­dom drug test­ing could pre­vent crashes like the one that killed her son. ‘‘I’m all for drug test­ing, even if it saves one life it would be worth it,’’ Forster said. Forster’s son Dy­lan Sut­ton, 24, was in the front pas­sen­ger seat of a four-wheel-drive that flipped into a vine­yard near Blen­heim in March 2017. The driver, Ste­wart Hol­dem of Blen­heim, had smoked meth and cannabis in the hour be­fore the crash. He was found guilty of man­slaugh­ter and two counts of dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing in­jury, and sen­tenced to five years and six months’ im­pris­on­ment in July. Forster is strug­gling to come to terms with her son’s death. ‘‘It’s hard to de­scribe, re­ally. You think each day the pain will lessen but it’s still there.’’ Na­tional MP Alas­tair Scott said he drafted the Land Trans­port (Ran­dom Oral Fluid Test­ing) Amend­ment Bill as a de­ter­rent be­cause ‘‘at the mo­ment, peo­ple can smoke weed, drive high, and not get caught.’’ ‘‘We know about the ef­fects that mar­i­juana can have on driv­ers, we’ve all seen the ads on TV. That wouldn’t be a prob­lem if no-one was do­ing it, or very few peo­ple. ‘‘But we know the num­ber of driv­ers in­volved in crashes with drugs in their sys­tem has es­ca­lated in the last wee while.’’ AA fig­ures show last year drug-driv­ers were in­volved in 79 fa­tal crashes, top­ping the 70 drink-driv­ers. The cur­rent drug test­ing process was time-con­sum­ing and ex­pen­sive, Scott said. Road­side saliva tests were al­ready used in the UK and Aus­tralia. Po­lice Min­is­ter Stu­art Nash said he voted against Scott’s bill be­cause it was ‘‘overly sim­plis­tic’’. ‘‘For ex­am­ple, the bill didn’t in­clude any safe­guards to deal with the po­ten­tial for false pos­i­tives.’’ Nash and the As­so­ciate Min­is­ter of Trans­port, Julie Anne Gen­ter, are de­vel­op­ing a more com­pre­hen­sive drug-driver test­ing regime, and will take a pro­posal to Cab­i­net this year.

‘‘I’m all for drug test­ing, even if it saves one life it would be worth it.’’ Lee-ann Forster

Ste­wart Hol­dem, far left, was on meth be­fore the crash that killed Dy­lan Sut­ton in Marl­bor­ough last year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.