Drivers on drugs as much as drink

THE number of drug-drivers has rivalled the number of drink-drivers caught in the North East during this Christmas holiday period, in a result that has alarmed Wodonga’s top traffic policeman.

Acting Sen-Sgt Cameron Roberts said the high number of drug drivers caught during the past seven days was surprising and disappointing.

“Our drug and alcohol testing efforts will only increase and there’s a percentage of people who still don’t get it,” he said.

Figures for this financial year to date show 13.4 per cent of random drug tests in the North East were positive, a figure which Sen-Sgt Roberts says is high.

Police in the North East nabbed 10 drug-drivers and 10 drink-drivers between December 23 and 29.

Of the 10 drivers who tested positive for drugs, police detected methylamphetamine or cannabis.

“People shouldn’t be on these drugs, let alone driving,” he said.

Among the drivers caught with a high blood alcohol reading was a Wodonga man.

The man, 60, was detected speeding at 129km/h on the Hume Freeway at Barnawartha with a .148 reading at 7.30pm on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Day, police also nabbed a P-plater from Melbourne.

He was driving to Sydney and was allegedly caught travelling at 132km/h on the Hume Freeway at 7.20am with a blood alcohol reading of .132.

The drivers who tested positive to drugs will receive a penalty notice, while those with a history of offences will appear in court on summons.

Sen-Sgt Roberts said the situation on the roads didn’t seem to be abating.

“There’s a percentage of people who think they can run the gauntlet,” he said.

“The message we need to get through to people is that if you plan to drink, don’t drive.”

“If the temptation (the car) is not there, then you are better off.”

Sen-Sgt Wayne McLachlan, of Wagga highway patrol, said Wagga police conducted 10,023 random breath tests over the past 10 days, while Albury recorded 8199.

Albury police nabbed two men during random breath testing on Mate Street just after 1am on December 22.

The men, both aged 29, recorded blood alcohol readings of .135, mid-range, and .171, a high-range reading.

That afternoon an Albury man, 55, was clocked at 153km/h along Urana Road, Jindera.

“We encourage motorists to slow down, take breaks and those celebrating New Year’s Eve should have a plan B,” Sen-Sgt McLachlan said.

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