Qld drug driving detections rise

By: Rob McKay

QTA hopes for transparency for employers as Queensland Police's stronger focus on drugs in the cab is showing results

Qld drug driving detections rise
Queensland Police are doing more drug tests.


A Queensland Police training effort has seen a strong rise in truck-driver drug detection rates as a result of its drug-testing rollout last year.

There are about 340 more officers trained in taking drug swabs than two years ago and this saw the numbers of general driver drug tests rise from about 20,000 to 40,000.

The result for trucks is a jump from 97 detections in 2014 to 195 last year.

"The figures from 2015-2016 significantly increase due to the amount of officers trained to do the testing increased," Queensland Police says.

In the four years to 2014, truck-driving drug detections had fluctuated, with totals of 91, 64, 70 and 97 recorded.

By far the most tests over the five years were carried out in the ‘Southern’ police region encompassing Ipswich, Moreton, Darling Downs and South West, with 835 resulting in 46 detections.

The detection rate of about 4-5 per cent was born out in the ‘Central’ and ‘Northern’ police regions, at 305 and 304 tests respectively, though the rate was about 16 per cent in the ‘Brisbane’ and ‘South Eastern’ regions on a much lower number of tests, 107 and 66 respectively.

The total detection rate was 6 per cent overall and, though there is only one year to go on, it indicates that this can be expected to remain about the same in future, all things being equal.

Underlining its rejection of any drug use in the industry and noting that responsible employers "do their utmost" to combat it, Queensland Transport Association (QTA) chief executive Gary Mahon says it is hoping that encouraging state government indications about legislative authority to allow trucking business owners to be notified when drivers are detected come to pass.

"The old adage that ‘I can only deal with what I know about’ is important," Mahon says.

"There needs to be transparency and visibility to the employer of the driver’s behaviour so they can treat the issue.

"We understand the government is responding but we haven’t seen anything material yet."



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