Drug Driving Among Police Detainees in Australia
Australian Institute of Criminology, 2008 - Crime prevention - 6 pages
In recent years there has been increasing concern about the prevalence of drug driving in Australia. Over the past four years, the majority of Australian states have introduced legislation that makes it an offence to drive with the presence of a range of drugs in the blood or saliva. Using data from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program, this paper examines the prevalence of drug driving among a sample of police detainees in key sites in 2005 and 2006. The data available in the DUMA program enable a number of key areas associated with drug driving to be explored across a number of locations in Australia. This study aims to explore the characteristics of police detainees who drive after drug use and their perceptions of the risks in doing so. While previous research has tended to focus on drug driving in one state at a particular point in time, this paper provides valuable insights into possible differences in drug driving behaviour across a number of locations. The study found that two-thirds of detainees had driven after using drugs and/or alcohol in the previous 12 months, which is significantly higher than the incidence of drug driving in the general population. The paper also examines the possible link between high-speed police pursuits and drugs, as there has been, at best, limited research conducted on this highly dangerous form of driving and its relationship with drug intoxication. Consistent with past research, detainees were most likely to perceive that cannabis and methylamphetamine did not have a negative effect on their driving ability. These findings suggest the need for continued monitoring of the prevalence of drug and/or alcohol driving and perceptions of the impact on driving ability of different drugs (including alcohol), as well as perceived risks of detection given recent legislative changes that enable random drug testing of drivers.
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