Drug Driving testing to begin in July

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Ben W, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Drug-driving fines revealed
    By ANNA VLACH
    02mar06

    SOUTH Australian motorists caught with even a trace of illegal drugs in their systems will face fines of up to $900 and lose demerit points from as early as July.

    Revealing the penalties yesterday, police Assistant Commissioner Grant Stevens said the tender process had just commenced for kits to be used in random roadside drug testing. The testing, expected to be in operation by mid-July, will be based on a world-first Victorian trial which was extended on Tuesday.

    Unlike blood alcohol testing, which allows a legal limit of 0.05, roadside drug testing would detect "the lowest concentration of drugs" the technology would allow, Mr Stevens said.

    He said drivers would be asked to provide a screening sample by placing a swab in their mouth. "The swab will be screened, which takes about five minutes," he said.

    "If it is positive, the driver will be asked to accompany police to the van, where further saliva samples will be taken. These will undergo scientific analysis on the spot, and then one sample will be sent to Forensic Science Centre for Court and a sample will be supplied to the driver.

    "Drivers testing positive will not be able to drive for up to four hours for THC (cannabis) or 24 hours for amphetamine."

    While cannabis can stay in a user's system for several weeks, it is understood drivers will not be prosecuted unless they have been using the drug within a day of testing.

    Penalties for testing positive include a $300 fine and loss of three demerit points, or, if the matter is brought before court, a $500-900 fine and loss of three demerit points. Drivers who refuse testing will be fined up to $700, lose three demerit points and be disqualified from driving for up to three months for a first offence.

    RAA traffic and safety manager Chris Thomson said prosecutions would be based on laboratory testing and not roadside saliva screenings.

    Mr Stevens said the saliva testing units had an accuracy greater than 95 per cent, while the laboratory tests were 100 per cent accurate.

    http://snipurl.com/ohp8
     
  2. SpiritualMadMan

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    I didn't see any mention of what would be allowed to "trigger" such testing?

    But, I feel this is a good thing as the two illegal drugd mentioned are indeed bad ones to be driving under the influence of...

    Cannabis can induce a "devil may care" (and, I sure don't) attitude with slowed reflexes...

    Amphetamine can produce a nothing can harm me, and trigger road rage...

    Unfortunately, amphetamines are also found in many diet pills. or, at least they used to be.

    I guess people had better monitor their on reactions to prescription drugs so they aren't stopped...

    And, I'd think keeping copies of your prescription records wouldn't be a bad idea either...

    Though, I don't any 'smart' doctor would prescribe amphetamine diet pills. [​IMG]

    Mike Sr.
     
  3. Daisy

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    100% accuracy? I don't believe that's possible. There is human error, sample contamination, deliberate tampering (it happens), prescription drug similiarities, etc. 100% is just suspect.

    People ought to monitor their reactions on prescription drugs, especially at first, but these are random stoppings.

    My sister works at a rural health clinic which dispenses some pretty heavy-duty medicines (migraine meds are very popular), sometimes several to the same person, especially to the elderly. These people drive. :eek:
     
  4. emeraldctyangel

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    I cant imagine being able to claim testing for being under the influence of drug or alcohol while driving is 100% accurate. This I'd like to see.

    Agree on the monitoring of presriptions. Would also like to see people monitor their health needs a bit more. Ive stopped two individuals in the last 4 months that didnt get the insulin right and got behind the wheel.

    I think the whole idea is good overall however, because it gets people under the influence of drugs off the roads for at least a little while. Ben, keep us posted on how its going.
     
  5. SpiritualMadMan

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    I agree that 100% accuracy is extremely doubtful...

    But, also notice that in the final test that two samples are taken and sealed, one given to the person tested the other sent to the government lab...

    This seems like a lot of effort to ensure fair and objective testing as that particular sample set is the third in the series...

    Also, note that from the article it appears that only two specific drugs are currently targetted...

    THC and Amphetamine... And, while there may be some false positives (that's why you keep a copy of your prescitipons with you) these are not normally "prescribed" drugs.,

    Lastly, I didn't see what would trigger the testing...

    Hopefully, and I am assuming, the person would have been observed driving in an impaired manner...

    I driven impaired myself...

    Too tired to drive...

    Almost ran a county deputy off the road...

    Once he knew I was just tired, and that the adrenaline had awakened me he let me go...

    But, I am pretty sure I scared us both pretty good...

    I begged off of 2nd shift after that...

    Mike Sr.
     
  6. Daisy

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    That's a good thing - saves wasted governmental resources, court costs, overtime for the cops as well as agony and job-loss for any innocents.
    Second paragraph first sentence, "Revealing the penalties yesterday, police Assistant Commissioner Grant Stevens said the tender process had just commenced for kits to be used in random roadside drug testing."

    Sleepy driving is a big, big problem.
     
  7. lomax

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    I think this is just more "fodder" for the
    legal system in australia. I'm and epileptic
    and the phenotoin in my medication would
    show-up as THC. If I was stopped there,
    this law would force me to hire a lawyer.
     
  8. SpiritualMadMan

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    Fortunately, Iomax, as we both hail from SC, we don't have such testing.

    And, such random testing, for no other reason, would quickly generate an ACLU case in the US...

    I didn't catch the "Random" testing...

    That takes Austrailia off my list of places to visit!

    If I am *Observed* driving impaired I don't have a problem assauging an officers concern for the reason (other than simple driftyness [​IMG] ) as to why I was being "strange".

    But, to be stopped entirely at random and required to give a sample... No, I don't think so...

    Thank God I am _Not_ Austrailian mate. Doesn't sound like a lot of due process there...

    In SC, and elsewhere in America, we have License checks... And, I like them and hate them.

    In certain places, also known as Radar Traps, such a stop is fraught with fear because the cops there are not known for their objectivity or fairness...

    But, at the same time if it gets an impaired driver off the road before they kill someone...

    Never really got concerned with a State Trooper Check... But, some of these rural towns are just creepy...

    Mike Sr.
     
  9. lomax

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    I love South Carolina!!!
     
  10. SpiritualMadMan

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    Me, too, Iomax... Me too...

    Though living in the boonies with a 1 hour plus drive one way to work is starting to wear a bit thin... [​IMG]

    Mike Sr.
     
  11. Ben W

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    Random stops are reasonably new, in previous occassions, the officer has had to have a reason for suspicion of an offence to pull someone over, yet in the new law, an officer may pull a motorist over for no reason at all, in order to do a breath test for Drink Driving.

    The idea is that a police officers "intuition" is often correct, and if a an officer has a hunch that someone is under the influence they probably are.

    As for radar, we have fixed radars with warning signs, and laser guns on highways as well as ordinary speed cameras which are operated by public servants.

    I understand your concerns about people being pulled over at random, yet if you have not been drinking or taking illegal drugs, you have nothing to worry about, and at the same time, these people are taken off the roads before they kill or maim someone!

    There has been technology released recently where a camera is set up on a freeway and takes licence plate numbers, feeds them to a central computer which determines if the plates match that type of vehicle and if that car is registered, or if the driver is wanted, if that is the case, the police then pull the vehicle over and deal with the issue. This is certainley dealing with a number of drivers who drive unregistered vehicles, or vehicles that have been fitted with stolen license plates.
     
  12. SpiritualMadMan

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    For an American this sure sounds far more "Orwellian" and "Big Brother"...

    As for random stops...

    What is to stop an officer with a grudge from repeatedly stopping someone making them late for work intentionally and that causing the stopped person to be discharge from their employement?

    Either test everyone or only on 'obvious' reasons for suspician... Or... Not at all...

    Sorry this would scare me...

    But, then as a 2nd amendment type I wouldn't be welcome in Austrailia either...

    Mike Sr.
     
  13. poncho

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    In America we call that probable cause, it's written in our fourth amendment. Unless you ask General Hayden of NSA fame he says it isn't. He argues that because what they are doing is reasonable proving probable cause as per our written constitution is no longer necessary. I guess following the constitution is no longer reasonable or necessary either.

    SOURCE
     
  14. SpiritualMadMan

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    Poncho,

    Now, that is a scary interview...

    Because as far as I know "Probable Cause" has been a settled issue in just about every court in the land even the Supreme Court...

    The general is simply WRONG in his statement.

    http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/315/315lect06.htm
    PROBABLE CAUSE

    The Fourth Amendment has two clauses.

    The first states that people have a right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures,

    and the second states that no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause.

    The roots of the second clause -- the probable cause requirement -- lie in English and American colonial history.

    Prior to the framing of our Constitution by the founding fathers, the government had virtually unlimited power to believe, right or wrong, that any illegal items they were looking for would be found.

    In England, this all-purpose power took the form of what were called general warrants; in colonial America, they were called writs of assistance. To protect against the abuses inherent in this kind of power, the Framers added a probable cause requirement.

    The probable cause requirement is, in many ways, more important than the reasonableness clause.

    The article goes on in some detail...

    While Constituitonally the NSA *may* be able to make it's case for limited nnarrowly defined warrantless wiretaps...

    Case Law has a long history of _NOT_ granting unlimited and broadly worded warrants. At least at the Supreme Court level.

    Here's another article:
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment04/

    If you check out the Olmstead Case you'll see that the NSA does not need to misapply or misquote the 4th amendment to legally do most of what it is doing!

    Why obfuscate the issue?

    Makes no sense!

    Mike Sr.
     
  15. poncho

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    General Hayden and others that are like minded seem to think in terms of collectivism where protecting the group is more important than protecting the individual. In other words they reason that in order to keep the group safe the individual must be willing to relinquish some legal protections like probable cause and habeas corpus against possible (inevitable?) government abuse.
     
  16. SpiritualMadMan

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    ponco
    Lord Acton

    I will trade one Group Protection for every two New Individual Protections.
     
  17. poncho

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    Sounds to me like this is just another way to condition individuals into giving up legal protections against government abuse by selling it as a way to protect society as a whole. Looks to me like just another way to decrease individual liberty and increase government revenues.
     
  18. Ben W

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    True, yet put yourself in the shoes of someone who loses their life partner to a drink / drug driver, and see what you might want done differently!
     
  19. poncho

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    Even if I did Ben, I'd still have to ask myself if my personal grief was worth suspending the only real protections that all individuals have against possible/inevitable government abuse.

    There has to be rules that govern government. When the government is allowed to make it's own rules history shows it always ends in tyranny. History also shows government using the same reasoning over and over to loose itself from the bonds of those rules placed on it "in order to keep the whole of society orderly and safe from, terror, war, crime, drugs, alcohol, floods, accidents, fire, etc. the individual must relinquish the only protections and legal recourse he has against government abuse." And of course we must also always give government more funding more power and more control if you want to be safe from...
     
  20. SpiritualMadMan

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    Random stops inflict the punishment on everyone...

    If I am stopped without Probable Cause and it delays my trip to work on a day my boss is really in a bad mood...

    I've heard that in Britain it once was understood if you are going to a pub to have a few you do not have your car keys on you, because it was assumed if you were drinking you were drunk, and if you had your keys, you intended to drive...

    So, you got arrested...

    For just sitting in a pub having a brew with your car keys on you...

    I don't know if it is still this way or not...


    Unfortunately, there are _no_ druggies equivalent of a pub...

    I understand the rationale of the new law...

    I would hope that the police use this law very judiciously and as an augment to Probably Cause...

    IE., they don't need a strong a Court Provable Probable Cause to stop someone...

    So, if they have a suspician they don't have to wait for the third drift across the center line before pulling the driver over...

    Mike Sr.
     

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