Success for bereaved petitioners – Govt introduces legislation to facilitate roadside drug tests

A petition with 1300 signatures calling for random roadside drug testing on New Zealand roads had a rocky experience with our law-makers.  It was set to be submitted to Parliament on May 9 last year but this was scuppered when its main champion, National MP Nick Smith, was suspended from Parliament for 24 hours.

The petition was started by a family who lost their son to a drugged driver in a crash in Nelson on New Year’s Eve 2017.

Before it was re-submitted, the way we remember it, the Government announced plans for public consultation on the introduction of roadside drug testing. And yesterday the Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill was introduced to the House.

Its first reading is intended next week.

The new law will allow Police to test if drivers are under the influence of drugs anywhere, anytime, just as they do now for alcohol, Police Minister Stuart Nash said.

Last year, 103 people died in crashes where the driver was later found to have drugs in their system.

The Bill allows Police to use oral fluid tests to check drivers for drugs which are likely to include THC (cannabis), methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), and benzodiazepines. These – we are told – are the most prevalent and high risk drugs and medications used by drivers in New Zealand. Continue reading “Success for bereaved petitioners – Govt introduces legislation to facilitate roadside drug tests”