The random drug testing of drivers has begun in the southern Australian state of Victoria. The authorities have said the checks are the first of their kind in the world and have been introduced to cut the number of drug-affected motorists dying on the roads.
This report from Phil Mercer:
Victoria's Police Minister, Andre Haermeyer, said that a third of drivers killed on the state's roads last year tested positive to drugs other than alcohol. He said the roadside checks were a world first. They'll target people who've used cannabis and methamphetamines at nightclubs and dance parties. Truck drivers who take drugs to stay awake to meet deadlines will also face scrutiny. Drivers will be asked to place a small absorbent pad on their tongues for a few seconds.
The screening of saliva won't detect prescription drugs or medication such as cold or flu tablets. Drivers testing positive will then be required to give a second sample, which will be sent to a laboratory. Those found to have used illegal substances will be fined and could lose their licence. An Australian survey recently revealed that one in four men under the age of twenty-five said they had driven a car after taking an illegal drug.
Phil Mercer, BBC News, Sydney
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