NSW: Drug Driving On The Rise, NRMA Calls For Tougher Penalties Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Nov, 25 2014 | 3 Comments

Drug driving in New South Wales is on the rise, NSW Police figures reveal, and the NRMA is pointing the blame at insufficient penalties for offenders.

A total of 34,280 roadside drug tests were carried out in 2013 with 729 drivers found to be affected by illicit substances.

That figure has jumped to 1160 drivers since January 1 this year, despite police having conducted just 29,500 tests so far during 2014.

A driver takes a drug test." class="small img-responsive"/>
A driver takes a drug test.
The NRMA says around 11 percent of road fatalities in NSW involve a motorist or motorcyclist affected by an illegal drug, and that 40 percent of drug driving offences and fatal crashes involve drivers aged under 30.

Despite a rise in offences, NRMA figures reveal between 2010-2012 almost one-in-three drivers walked free from court under a ‘Section 10’.

Offending drivers were either convicted without penalty or had no conviction recorded.

NRMA President Kyle Loades said it was clear drug-drivers were not taking the road safety message seriously, and that weak punishment for offenders was not helping.

"The vast majority of drivers appreciate how stupid and dangerous this behaviour is, now magistrates need to do their job and get these offenders off our roads," Mr Loades said.

"NRMA welcomes the announcement of the package of measures to combat drug driving. The party season is just around the corner and it is critical that these measures are implemented as soon as possible.”

Mr Loades said the NRMA would work with the NSW Government to communicate the anti-drug driving message, and that NSW Police needed more support to combat the growing crime.

MORE: First Major Drug-Driving Study Reveals Alarming Figures In NSW
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NSW | Drug Driving | NRMA

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