Anti-drug zealots are rubbing their hands together with glee as drivers are dying on the roads. Their message is that drug-driving causes more deaths than drink-driving and they have statistics to prove it. For a group that usually overlooks facts and statistics, it’s surprising they take these new findings on board with such excitement. But when you actually look closer at their proof, it becomes clear they are comparing oranges and apples.
Campaign: Drug-driving exceeds drink-driving
When: 1992 -
Laugh Out Loud Rating: 5/10
Let’s clear this up … no one should drive whilst under the influence of drugs. Any impairment to your driving skills is dangerous. It’s that simple.
So, how do we go about implementing laws for those who drive while affected by drugs. With alcohol, we simply test the BAC or blood-alcohol concentration. A driver’s co-ordination deteriorates according to the amount of alcohol in their system and most people have a similar threshold. Over a period of time, the alcohol dissipates and your driving skills start to return to normal. Of course there are exceptions but overall the limits in place work for the masses. Is this the same for other drugs? The obvious problem is that not all drugs are the same as alcohol. Some drugs can linger in your system for months while others can disappear quite quickly. Some drugs affect your driving ability more than others. Trying to base drug-driving tests on the alcohol model is flawed and any 15 year old would see the inherent differences.
So why does this logic get lost on some people?
It might make sense to the public but that’s because of the opportunistic nature of politicians and anti-drug zealots. If they see a chance to demonise drugs, they will take it, regardless of the truth. The biggest furphy is that simply detecting drugs in someone’s system does not mean they are impaired. This is testing for the presence of drugs not whether you have sufficient amounts to impair your driving.
The very bad news is that the detection rate of drug driving in South Australia is twice that of drink driving. Mixing drugs and driving is fatal and of course that's borne out by the fact that 20 per cent of the people who were driving cars and died on our roads last year ... had drugs in their blood.'
Another major problem is that alcohol remains in your system for a certain known time while other drugs have their own unique process. For example, cannabis can linger in your blood for months although any effect on your driving has long gone. Arresting someone for having cannabis in their blood from a joint they smoked several weeks prior just does’t makes sense when it no longer impairs your driving. And the perception that all drugs are the same doesn’t help either.
I think there is a perception out there that it may be OK to take an illicit substance and drive. That the perception is that it does not affect your driving but, in my opinion, it probably affects your driving more than alcohol. And they have to remember, they can take a drug one day and still have that in their system several days or even weeks later.
Interestingly, not much attention is paid to prescription drugs. Why would they overlook a tranquilliser like rohypnol? Or strong opiates like morphine, oxycondone, methadone, hydromorphone and hydrocodone? What about benzodiazepines like oxazepam, diazepam, nitrazepam, temazepam and Xanax?
With the mentioned inconsistencies and the fact that those caught with alcohol levels less than 0.05 are not part of the statistics, there is plenty of room for misreporting and exaggeration. It will be interesting to see who misuses these inconsistencies to further their career or push an agenda.
More from the Propaganda Files
More from the Propaganda Files
Drugs Cause More Road Deaths Than Booze(Perth Now)
More Drivers On Drugs Than Alcohol(The Age)
More B.C. Drivers High Than Drunk(Metro Vancouver)
Drugs A Factor In 1 In 3 Driver Deaths(HGV Ireland)
Motorists Abuse Drugs More Than Alcohol(Sydney Morning Herald)
Drugs Cause More Road Deaths Than Booze In Victoria(News.com.au)
More Drivers On Drugs Than Alcohol, SA Tests Show(News.com.au)
Drug Drivers Pose Huge Road Risk(HeraldSun)
Region Facing New Drug-Driving Blitz(Newcastle Herald)