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Roadside Drug Test SA: Purpose, the Equipment Used, and What to Expect

09 February, 2024

A roadside drug testing unit vehicle on the road

The law prohibits South Australians from using illicit drugs, such as crystal meth and cocaine, while driving or operating a vehicle. This is because the effects of the substances can be detrimental. Thus, uniformed police officers conduct roadside drug tests in SA. It keeps everyone safe by identifying drug drivers and taking necessary actions. Authorities utilise testing kits that collect oral fluid, urine, or blood samples. People can expect drug driving charges if the test comes back positive.

Possessing or using illegal drugs while driving is prohibited. Drug offences can lead to job loss, incrimination, and social stigma. In addition, abusing prescribed drugs can impair the ability to drive effectively. Having a high alcohol concentration in the system during a random roadside drug screening can result in immediate suspension of licences. The following sections will present the purpose of roadside testing, the equipment officials use, and the implications of a non-negative outcome.

Purpose of Roadside Drug Test in SA

A roadside drug test in SA targets to enhance safety by detecting drivers who may be under the influence of illicit substances. Specially trained police officers conduct the screening. They aim to identify individuals who pose a risk to themselves and other road users. Through testing, law enforcement can prevent people from getting behind the wheel with drugs. Consequently, this reduces the number of drug-related road accidents.

Random roadside drug testing also serves as a means of enforcing laws related to drug-impaired driving. Establishing a strong presence of screenings on the roads sends a clear message to the public about the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs. It also serves as a deterrent, as individuals know they could be subject to testing at any time.

Additionally, the test is a tool for gathering data on drug-impaired driving. This information is crucial for understanding the prevalence of drug use among drivers. Also, it helps develop strategies to address this issue. By collecting data, authorities can determine trends, monitor the effectiveness of anti-drug driving campaigns, and make informed decisions regarding resources and initiatives to combat drug-impaired driving.

Legal Framework

  • Road Traffic Act 1961 – gives legal authority to the police to conduct tests on drivers. This ensures they are not impaired by drugs while driving.
  • Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 – outlines the rules and regulations related to the use of roads, including provisions for roadside drug screening.
  • Australian Road Rules – guide road users and establish legal requirements for safe and responsible driving.
  • Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 – regulates the possession, use, and supply of illicit drugs to detect illegal use by drivers.
  • Road Traffic (Drug Driving) Amendment Act 2006 – addresses drug driving offences and provides enhanced powers for roadside drug tests.

Police officers stopping cars on the road

Equipment Used in Roadside Drug Tests in SA

Uniformed police officers use various equipment to conduct roadside drug tests in SA. Some of the primary tools are a drug recognition expert (DRE) evaluation and a testing kit. They can also utilise laboratory testing when needed. DRE evaluation is a process of observing and assessing the physical and behavioural signs. This involves authorities checking pupil sizes, muscle tone, blood pressure, and pulse rate.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials use testing kits that collect a sample of oral fluid, urine, or blood to detect the presence of drugs. These kits are portable and user-friendly. Officers can screen South Australian drivers during traffic stops or other roadside encounters. They commonly screen for cocaine and methamphetamine. Also, they may identify prescribed drugs.

Laboratory testing is also an essential tool for authorities. If the initial DRE evaluation or testing kit result is positive, they may send a specimen to a lab for further analysis. Laboratories have advanced equipment and technology that provide a more accurate and detailed analysis. This can confirm the presence of drugs, identify specific substances, and determine the concentration levels.

Procedures of the Testing and the Role of Police Officers

In South Australia, police officers stop motor vehicles and conduct drug tests. The procedure begins with requesting the driver to undergo a DRE evaluation or provide a specimen. Then, the device screens for the presence of different drug classes. If the initial test indicates a positive result, the driver must do further testing at a designated testing facility.

Police officers play a crucial role in conducting the initial screens and ensuring road safety. They are responsible for administering the tests fairly and without discrimination. The authorities follow the prescribed procedures and guidelines. Additionally, officers educate the public about the dangers of drug driving.

A distressed-looking truck driver sitting at the back of the vehicle

What to Expect After a Positive Roadside Drug Test in SA?

Drivers can expect to be detained by police for further testing if they receive a positive roadside drug test in SA. This involves providing a second urine, blood, or saliva sample to confirm the initial result. The individual may face charges and penalties if this test is also positive. This is because the decisions of drug drivers can have serious consequences not only for themselves but also for other road users.

After a positive outcome, offenders can expect to undergo a legal process that may result in the loss of licence. Hence, they may no longer be able to operate a motor vehicle indefinitely. Depending on the circumstances, they may also need to attend a drug education or rehabilitation program as part of their penalty.

Moreover, a positive screen result can have personal and professional consequences. People may face difficulties finding employment or maintaining their current job if it requires them to have a clean driving record. Thus, be proactive in addressing the issue. Additionally, seek support and guidance and take steps to address any underlying substance abuse problems to prevent future issues.

Consequences and Penalties

One of the consequences of using illicit drugs or misusing prescribed drugs is an immediate loss of licence. Also, offenders may pay fines amounting to $1000. They may also have potential court appearances. Moreover, a positive drug test can result in criminal charges and a criminal record.

In addition, a non-negative test outcome can have long-term penalties for the driver. For example, having a criminal record can impact the ability to secure employment or travel to certain countries. Furthermore, the driver may be required to attend drug education programs or rehabilitation, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

Conclusion

Roadside drug tests in SA serve as a crucial tool in identifying drivers who may be under the influence of drugs while on the road. This test aims to ensure road safety by detecting and deterring drug-impaired driving. South Australian police officers can conduct a DRE evaluation to screen individuals. Also, they can test their specimens to identify the presence of drugs like cannabis, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and prescribed medications. Laboratory testing may follow to confirm the initial results.

In the event of a positive test result, drivers can expect to be detained. They may also face further testing at a police station, along with potential fines and license suspension. Other drug-driving penalties include mandatory drug education programs. Long-term consequences can be the inability to secure employment. Overall, roadside drug testing is a necessary measure to protect the public from the dangers of drug driving. Additionally, it upholds the responsibility of all individuals to drive responsibly.

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