A magistrate has lamented being unable to jail a drug-driver who crashed his boss's car into the back of another vehicle.
Had Mathew Carey been caught above the alcohol limit, rather than with ice in his system, magistrate Ian Watkins said he'd be in jail.
The Wodonga Magistrates Court on Tuesday heard it was his 10th such drug-driving matter, but the offence, and a related charge of careless driving, didn't carry a prison term.
"I have to say if it was drink-driving rather than drug-driving, I wouldn't be imposing the penalty I am today," Mr Watkins said.
"I would be sending you to prison."
Carey had driven into the back of a car at the Anzac Parade roundabout with the Bandiana Link on June 22.
Wodonga officers attended the crash at 3.20pm and Carey said he had been distracted while looking at houses in a new estate.
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While he said he'd had "a few cones" the day before, he didn't test positive for marijuana but instead returned a result for methamphetamine.
His lawyer Sally Wilson said there must have been traces of the drug in his marijuana, and that he hadn't resumed his ice addiction.
She said his criminal record was "nothing to be proud of", but said he had been clean for multiple years with occasional relapses.
Carey had paid back his employer for the damage to the work car, and for the damage to the victim's vehicle.
"It would have been a costly exercise for him, I'm assuming," Mr Watkins said.
The prosecution asked he be banned from driving beyond the minimum term required.
"The reality is you were jeopardising the safety of every other road user when you chose to drive like that with drugs in your system," the magistrate said.
"You can't be a recreational drug user and driver, you've got to make a choice which one it's going to be."
Mr Watkins believed the drug use would have contributed to the crash.
He was banned from driving for 18 months.
Carey must also pay a $1200 fine, and $129 in costs.
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