Drugged Driving Law Success

(PR.co.nz) Transport Minister Steven Joyce says figures showing 101 drivers have been charged under recently introduced drugged driving laws mean the law is working well.

“Drivers impaired by drugs put themselves and other road users at risk. This result shows that Police now have the tools to take these people off the road,” says Mr Joyce.

The new drugged driving laws came into effect on 1 November 2009. Under the law, a Police officer who suspects a driver of being impaired can require the driver to carry out a Compulsory Impairment Test. A driver who fails this test is required to provide a blood specimen.

As at 20 May 2010 Police had carried out 177 impairment tests. So far 135 drivers have had blood tests showing evidence of drugs. There may be further positive tests as not all blood samples taken up until 20 May have been tested.

An additional 17 samples were taken from injured drivers under a separate provision of the law which allows them to be tested for Class A drugs. Six of these drivers tested positive for methamphetamine and have been charged. In total, 101 drivers have been charged under the new laws, 46 of whom had been convicted while 55 are yet to appear in Court.

“The fact that the majority of drivers who fail the impairment test have drugs in their bloodstream shows the law is working as it was intended,” says Mr Joyce.

“Combating drugged driving is a high priority for the government and an important part of our road safety effort. We are also working to reduce the impact of alcohol on our rate of road deaths and injuries as part of the Safer Journeys road safety strategy.”

Information on the drugged driving law, including questions and answers, is available on the Ministry of Transport website at www.transport.govt.nz.

Media Release 31 May 2010 from Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of Transport.
Telephone: (04)817 6813
Email: s.joyce@ministers.govt.nz