More driving after drugs than booze

WODONGA police have this week arrested six drug-drivers as the number of drug-affected motorists they catch continues to outstrip drink-drivers.

At the same time a 40-year-old Wodonga man is set to face court after he was caught driving with a blood alcohol level four times the limit and with his two children in the car on Gordon Street.

Sgt Cameron Roberts said the man returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.214 after he was apprehended by police on Sunday.

“He was driving with his kids in the car, he was stopped and tested and it hasn’t gone well,” Sgt Roberts said.

“His licence was immediately suspended and he’ll be going to court at a future date.

“In terms of being responsible for the care of those kids and other people, it’s quite unthinking and well below the required standard.

“Once you get up around that sort of reading, you’re well and truly impaired.

“They’re the sort of drink-drivers that we do like catching.”

But Sgt Roberts said police were regularly detecting more drug-drivers than those affected by alcohol, with another two motorists caught for drink-driving in the same period.

“It’s something that’s been pretty apparent that drug-drivers are exceeding drink-drivers,” he said.

“We’ve got capacity in the highway patrol to test for both.

“And at the moment drug-drivers are more prevalent.”

Sgt Roberts said methamphetamine, or ice, was commonly detected, and he said some motorists tested positive to both ice and cannabis.

He said about one in every seven drivers tested in the region returned a positive reading for drugs during the past year.

“I believe that’s one of the highest rates in the state,” Sgt Roberts said.

“But I should put that into perspective; not every motorist gets drug tested.

“Police use their judgement call when they pull people over.

“It’s up to the policeman who pulls over the person as to whether they’re going to do a drug test.

“Every person pulled over is breath-tested, drug testing is a judgment call at the time.”

Wodonga Magistrate John Murphy last week took aim at the maximum ban he could impose on drug-affected drivers under Victorian law.

He said the penalties for drug-driving compared to drink-driving “beggars belief”.