Roadside tests in Bundaberg catch almost 900 drivers

Sergeant Marty Arnold is frustrated that drivers are not getting the message, with tickets continually issued for the same offences.
Sergeant Marty Arnold is frustrated that drivers are not getting the message, with tickets continually issued for the same offences. Max Fleet BUNMAR

HUNDREDS of doped-up drivers are getting caught on Bundaberg roads now that local police have the resources to do roadside drug testing.

And the city's top traffic cop warns the crackdown on motorists on drugs or booze is not slowing down.

Statistics reveal there were almost 900 cases of people driving with a blood-alcohol reading of 0.15 or higher or under the influence of drugs in the Wide Bay Burnett district in a year.

The Queensland Police Service Annual Statistical Review 2014-15 showed these 891 high-level offences were among 3549 in total for drink driving in the district that includes Bundaberg, Gympie and Maryborough.

Bundaberg Road Policing Unit officer in charge Sergeant Marty Arnold said it was a concerning figure but reflected the recent expansion of the drug testing program.

"We have nine trained officers here at Bundaberg and we do roadside drug testing as part of our daily duties," Sgt Arnold said.

He said the days when offenders suspected of drug driving had to be transported to hospital for a blood sample to be taken - followed by weeks of waiting for results - were long gone.

Now a roadside saliva test can show within minutes whether drugs are present.

He said on average they caught one drug driver a day, but some days it could be up to four.

"Certainly the emergence of drug use in the community is fairly widespread, especially in our local area," he said.

Sgt Arnold said anyone who drank or took drugs before driving should think twice about their actions because they were much more likely to have a crash.

RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said the high number of drink and drug drivers on our roads was alarming.

"It's incredibly concerning that that many people have been caught around regional Queensland either affected by drugs or alcohol," Ms Ritchie said.

She said driving impaired was one of the fatal five for a reason, with alcohol being linked to about a quarter of deaths on the state's roads.

"We would obviously encourage the police to continue random breath testing and drug testing around Queensland," she said.

Topics:  drink drivers drug driving queensland police racq

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