Alcohol & Drug Testing and What Drivers Need To Know
20 October, 2023
Regarding alcohol & drug testing what drivers need to know is that impaired driving is a serious offence. Drugs and alcohol negatively affect coordination, reaction time, vision, and judgment. This makes intoxicated people unfit to operate a vehicle. Moreover, Australia enforces a zero limit for the consumption of illicit substances. Meanwhile, for alcohol intake, the limit is 0.05% BAC. It is best to assign a designated driver for the group or refrain from any substance intake to prevent impaired driving.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) causes many accidents that endanger the passengers and everyone in the vicinity. Unfortunately, intoxication often results in a false sense of confidence. This is why police officers conduct roadside tests. They identify those who are impaired and stop them from causing accidents. This article will present the definition of impaired driving, the limits for substance use, and how to prevent driving under the influence.
Alcohol & Drug Testing and What Drivers Need to Know: Impaired Driving
Law enforcement often conducts alcohol & drug testing and what drivers need to know about impaired driving is that it is a dangerous act. Impaired driving is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI is a criminal offence that causes many accidents. It endangers the driver, passengers, and everyone around them.
Drugs and alcohol can severely affect physical and cognitive functions. These people should not be allowed to operate motor vehicles or heavy machinery. Some of the effects they experience are altered judgment, reduced concentration, drowsiness, and slow reaction times. Furthermore, they also weaken vision and coordination, increasing the risk of accidents.
Thus, random roadside testing has become common in Australia. This enables police to identify intoxicated drivers who are not fit to operate a vehicle. Often, they use breathalysers to check for alcohol consumption. They may also use rapid test kits for saliva tests. Lastly, they may ask for blood samples to support a non-negative result or upon refusal of previously mentioned methods.
Different Methods for Testing
Several methods are used for testing alcohol and drug consumption. Here are some of them:
- Urine tests are the standard method of substance use screening. It uses urine samples to detect traces of substances for up to 24 hours.
- Saliva swab tests are often done during on-site testing. It can detect substances up to 12 hours after last use.
- Blood tests are the most accurate tests. Blood samples retain substances for up to 6 to 12 hours. However, PEth and CDT tests can detect alcohol consumption for up to four weeks.
- Breath tests use breathalysers to measure Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels.
Alcohol & Drug Testing and What Drivers Need to Know: Limits
For alcohol & drug testing what drivers need to know about are the limits for substance use. Individuals are charged with illicit drug use if there are traces of a substance in their system. Some examples of illegal substances in Australia are amphetamines, cannabis, ecstasy, and heroin.
Meanwhile, the legal limit for drink driving in Australia is 0.05% BAC. It is an offence to drive if the BAC is more than that. Moreover, some people must follow a zero limit. This includes novice drivers, public transportation drivers, and truck drivers. Furthermore, it is vital to understand that even if the person’s BAC is below the limit, they may still be charged. This applies if they are impaired or if they cause accidents.
The increase and decrease of BAC levels are highly dependent on the person. Several factors affect this, including age, gender, metabolism, body type, and current health condition. Additionally, combining medications and alcohol is very dangerous. Thus, it is vital to have awareness of what substances can be consumed while on medication.
Penalties for Impaired Driving
Drink driving is a crime that has serious consequences. First-time offenders may get license disqualification and up to three months of jail time. If caught for the second and following offences, the person will likely get license suspension, fines, and jail time.
They may also impound the vehicle and place an ignition interlock device into the car. This device requires a zero-breath test before the engine starts. Additionally, they may need to attend alcohol abuse programs. Meanwhile, it is illegal to have any trace of illicit drugs. Penalties for breaking this law include fines, imprisonment, and disqualification from driving.
Alcohol & Drug Testing and What Drivers Need to Know: Prevention
Police officers perform alcohol & drug testing and what drivers need to know are prevention methods to avoid DUI charges. Firstly, one person may be assigned as the designated driver when going out as a group. This person should not consume alcoholic beverages or substances that may cause impairment. Ideally, this person typically does not intake alcoholic beverages. However, several people may also take turns for fairness. This way, the group can safely get home.
Secondly, if the person is alone, they may call a taxi or have someone pick them up. They may also ride public transportation if they feel well enough. However, if they are unable to do either, they may benefit from staying at a nearby place. Locations like hotels or the homes of friends are some examples.
Lastly, the individual may avoid drinking alcohol themselves. This will allow them to drive themselves home without fear of exceeding BAC levels. Moreover, this lets them reduce the adverse risks of consuming alcohol and illicit substances.
Using a Breathalyser
Breathalysers are devices that help many people. They enable individuals to monitor their BAC levels. This allows them to set clear limits on their drinking. Moreover, it informs them if they are sober enough to drive. They are also designed to be easy to use even while intoxicated. Some people buy personal alcohol breath tests online or in physical stores like pharmacies.
Typically, the individual needs to blow into the mouthpiece of a breathalyser until it signals completion. Afterwards, the results are displayed on the device. It is best to wait 15 to 20 minutes after drinking before testing.
There are many things regarding alcohol & drug testing and what drivers need to know is that it is necessary for the betterment of the community. These tests lessen the risks of accidents on the road. Drivers should stay sober and abstain from consuming drugs and alcohol. This allows them to remain fit for operating a motor vehicle and avoid DUI penalties. These can range from license suspensions to imprisonment.
A DUI charge is a severe criminal offence that has many consequences. It is a significant financial burden that also has social effects. To prevent over-intoxication from alcohol, some may benefit from owning a personal alcohol breath test. These devices are available for purchase online or in physical stores like pharmacies. Breathalysers Australia has a wide selection of reliable and accurate BACtrack breathalysers. They are FDA-cleared devices that provide quick measurements of BAC levels.