Police dismayed with results of driver drug tests

One in 80 heavy vehicle drivers tested positive to drugs during three-day campaign in New South Wales

June 4, 2013

Police have expressed dismay at the results of three days of drug tests on heavy vehicle drivers in New South Wales as part of Operation Austrans.

Officers from the traffic and highway patrol branch of NSW Police tested drivers between May 29 and May 31, with 18 out of 1,453 drug tests returning a positive result.

During the second week of Operation Austrans, officers also issued 92 infringement notices to heavy vehicle drivers for speeding, 115 for work diary offences, 50 for not wearing seat belts, 137 defects and 104 for other offences.

But Assistant Commissioner John Hartley singled out the drug test results as the most concerning.

"These tests suggest a rate of 1 positive test to every 80 completed. Combined with drivers identified for speeding, fatigue, seat belts, defects and other offences these statistics are of real concern," he says.

"In comparison 1454 breath tests for alcohol were conducted with only one testing positive in the special range category."

Operation Austrans runs annually throughout May and June to enforce compliance with heavy vehicle laws.

NSW Police says officers stopped a Victorian registered B-double on the Newell Highway at Boggabilla on May 29 and discovered its speed limiter had been tampered with to allow the vehicle to exceed 130km/h. The 32-year-old owner-driver was issued with a speed limiter compliance notice.

On June 1 about 9.30pm officers stopped a semi-trailer for an inspection on the Great Western Highway at Lithgow.

The driver allegedly failed to produce 28 days of work diary entries and during a vehicle search police recovered 1.6 grams of what is believed to be methamphetamine. The driver was grounded until his work diary was brought up-to-date.

He is expected to be charged pending drug analysis for possessing a prohibited drug, two traffic infringement notices for fatigue, one for dimension breach and one for record keeping.

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