Drug testing expert and former drug squad cop says Government’s drug driving bill is ‘over-ambitious’

By September 10, 2020 Recent News

TVNZ One News 10 September 2020
Our additional comment: “[I]n terms of accuracy, and particularly around stuff like THC and prescription medications like benzodiazepines – there’s been some real issues and that’s come about recently with some case law as well, in the workplace side of things, in terms of failing to detect people using cannabis recently, while they’re intoxicated, and then while they’re impaired as well, which is after the acute intoxication stage,” Hardy said. “There is a demand for a cannabis breathaliser around the world, but the technology’s just not there and I can’t personally see it being there for maybe at least 12 to 24 months – then they’re going to have to go through trials.”
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A drug testing expert has raised concerns about the accuracy of the equipment needed to conduct roadside drug testing, as the Government considers a law giving police new powers to crack down on impaired drivers.

Drugged drivers are an issue on New Zealand roads, with Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter saying 103 people died last year in crashes where the driver was later found to have drugs in their system.

The Government is now looking to introduce random roadside testing for a number of substances using saliva tests, with the Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill currently at Select Committee stage.

Attorney-General David Parker has said the bill, as it stands, seems to be at odds with New Zealand’s Bill of Rights due to a lack of definition in the bill around how much of a substance must be present for a person to be infringed to be prosecuted.

The current suggested regime would have police testing for a positive or negative result for drugs, rather than measuring for a certain concentration, and there are currently no grounds for judging how impaired a driver is by those concentrations.

Genter has said those grounds are coming and will be added to the bill once an expert panel, delayed by Covid-19, has had time to formulate the limits.

However, the head of a Kiwi drug testing agency says the technology needed to accurately test drivers in line with those limits is still “a couple of years away”.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/drug-testing-expert-and-former-squad-cop-says-governments-driving-bill-over-ambitious