New drug-driving law in force in Northern Territory

Police have new powers at the roadside to catch drug-drivers.


Police in the Northern Territory can now demand any driver to submit to a drug test under a new law introduced today.

The NT Government has given officers new powers at the roadside in a bid to reduce the prevalence of drug-driving on the Territory’s roads, and there are heavy penalties for those who do not comply.

Transport minister Peter Chandler says the new regime is in response to concerns about drug use in the community.

"From today, February 1, Northern Territory Police will have the power to require any driver to provide a saliva sample for drug-driving testing," Chandler says.

"The laws aim to reduce the incidence of drug-driving and the number of people killed and seriously injured as a result of drug-driving.

"Police will be able to more easily detect and remove drivers under the influence of drugs from Territory roads. Your chance of being detected for drug-driving has increased."

Chandler says those detected with drugs in their system while driving may have their licence immediately suspended and penalised with up to six months in jail.

"If a driver refuses to submit a saliva test you will be up for a $765 fine or three months imprisonment, for the first offence," he says.

Chandler says further saliva and blood samples may be taken from drivers if police detect drugs during the initial test.

He says drug-driving is as dangerous as drink-driving.

"Studies have shown that drugs that are capable of impairing driver skills have been found in significant numbers of drivers who have been injured or killed on our roads," Chandler says.

The new law aligns the NT with other jurisdictions in Australia in relation to dealing with drug-driving.


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