THE fears of thousands of highway motorists on the Coffs Coast have been realised – it seems a percentage of truckies who roar through our region are driving under the influence of drugs.
Specialist police from the Random Drug Testing Unit, complete with a mobile van, converged on the RTA checking station at Halfway Creek for a sting on rogue truckies this week and the outcome was disgraceful.
Three truckies tested positive for drugs and another motorist was caught as well after they all provided saliva samples.
Police confirmed amphetamines and cannabis had been detected among the four positive results from 230 tests.
As the outcry over the carnage on local sections of the Pacific Highway continues, these random drug tests should be a major concern for all local drivers who traverse this road on a daily basis.
“We prohibit these drivers from driving for 24 hours and a sample of their saliva is sent to a lab for testing,” a police spokeswoman said after the operation had ended. “Once we get the results of that and if the results are positive, the driver will be charged with driving with an illicit drug and will have to go to court.
“The maximum penalty for a first offence is an $1100 fine and 12 months’ licence disqualification.”
On the upside, none of the 400 alcohol breath tests conducted on drivers during the blitz resulted in any arrests or charges. This is a significant turarnound on previous crackdowns.
The spokeswoman said police conducted these drug testing operations across the State and would continue to do so.
“The Pacific Highway is used a lot by heavy vehicles and is a major thoroughfare for all types of vehicles,” she said.
This week’s clampdown ran from noon on Wednesday to midnight on Thursday.
The Random Drug Testing Unit has been in operation for nearly three years.