101 charged under new drugged-driving law
A recently introduced drugged-driving law has been effective with over 100 drivers charged as a result, says Transport Minister Stephen Joyce.Transport Ministry figures showed 101 drivers had been charged since the law came into effect on November 1, with
A recently introduced drugged-driving law has been effective with over 100 drivers charged as a result, says Transport Minister Stephen Joyce.
Transport Ministry figures showed 101 drivers had been charged since the law came into effect on November 1, with 46 having been convicted and another 55 awaiting court appearances, Mr Joyce said.
Under the law, a police officer who suspects a driver of being impaired by drugs can require them to carry out a compulsory impairment test, and if that test is failed the suspect is then required to provide a blood sample.
Drugs targeted include opiates, amphetamines, cannabis, sedatives, antidepressants and methadone, but various medicines are exempt and there is a defence provision for people who can prove they were using a qualifying substance.
As of May 20, police had carried out 177 impairment tests and 135 people had blood tests showing evidence of drugs. More samples were awaiting testing.
"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," Mr Joyce said. Six of those people tested positive for methamphetamine and had been charged.
Drivers impaired by drugs were a risk to themselves and other road users and police now had the tools to reduce those risks, he said.
"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," Mr Joyce said.
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