Announcing the study’s results today, NSW roads minister Duncan Gay said the use of advanced new drug testing technologies has revealed that 11 percent of road deaths involved a driver or motorcyclist under the influence of illicit drugs.
“We know that in the last four years, at least 166 people died on our roads in crashes involving motorists with at least one of three illicit drugs, cannabis, speed or ecstasy in their system,” Mr Gay said.
Those three are the only types of drugs that can be tested for with current technology, but the state is exploring new systems that will expand the range of tests to include cocaine and other substances.
The study showed that a driver using amphetamines is six times more likely to be involved in an accident, while a driver combining drugs and alcohol is 32 times more likely.
NSW police minister Stuart Ayres said the state will combat the dangerous activity through enforcement, education programs and advanced new detection methods in roadside checks.
“We are learning a number of critical factors about drug driving, including the fact that in the past four years, 40 per cent of drug driving offences and fatal crashes involved a drug driver that was under the age of 30. This information will allow us to tailor our education campaigns more effectively,” he said.
Mr Ayres said that education and vigilant policing has seen a reduction in drink driving fatalities from 30 percent in 1980 to 15 percent in 2013.
“We believe education and enforcement will assist in helping reduce the prevalence of drug driving,” he said.
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