Police plan on having more random drug driving testing units set up in future.
Police plan on having more random drug driving testing units set up in future. Contributed

Low number of Lismore drug drivers

DESPITE the Northern Rivers' reputation as the pot smoking capital of Australia, police say the number of drug drivers on our roads is comparatively low compared to the State average.

Northern Region traffic co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Bill Darnell said although the Northern Rivers wasn't a hotspot for drug driving in NSW, police planned to do more random testing in the future.

Traditionally, drug testing had been associated with the annual MardiGrass and Splendour in the Grass festivals.

"On a random basis in 2013 we will be bringing the drug testing bus into the command to drug test motorists on occasions without the specific need for a community event in our area," he said.

Hotspots for drug driving in NSW are concentrated around the western Sydney suburbs of Doonside, Fairfield, St Marys and Mt Druitt, with Orange being the worst regional area.

Sen Sgt Darnell said in nine drug driving operations over the past five years in the Richmond LAC 1734 people were tested with 64 returning positive results.

"When you narrow it down, on nine specific occasions when the drug bus has been here we had 64 positive detections, which is cause for concern," he said.

Snr Sgt Darnell said any driver who tested positive for drugs was handed a notice banning them from driving for 24 hours.

"Surprisingly Nimbin doesn't yield many positive results," he said.

Snr Sgt Darnell said future random drug driving operations would target private motorists as well as heavy vehicles and public transport drivers.

 

Numbers

  • In nine drug driving operations in the Richmond LAC over the past five years police have tested 1734 drivers for drug driving.
  • 64 returned positive tests and were prosecuted.
  • Drug driving operations traditionally run for two days and have coincided with the MardiGrass and Splendour in the Grass festivals.
  • Despite not consistently yielding positive detections, in 2010 during MardiGrass police detected 21 drug drivers at Nimbin.


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