Stuff.co.nz 22 January 2018
National’s Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott’s member bill would allow police to carry out saliva testing when a driver was suspected of being drug-impaired.
He planned to put the Land Transport (Random Oral Fluid Testing) Amendment Bill into the ballot by Tuesday next week.
“It will bring us into the 21st century,” Scott said.
Currently, when an officer suspected a driver was impaired by drugs, a compulsory impairment test (CIT) which included eye and behavioural assessments such as standing on one leg could be carried out.
Those who failed could be forbidden to drive for 12 hours, and asked to give a blood sample.
Scott described CIT as “archaic” and said saliva testing “represents a much stronger and more visible drug driving enforcement measure”.
Police Minister Stuart Nash was yet to see the bill, but was open to hearing about Scott’s ideas.
“If technology exists to allow for this type of roadside testing in a timely, efficient and reliable way, we should be looking at it,” Nash said.
Random roadside saliva testing was last reviewed by the government in May 2012.
The review found that while testing could detect drugs, it could not show the level of impairment.
Testing devices were not considered reliable enough for criminal prosecutions. The time it took to test people was also criticised – unlike breath alcohol testing which took seconds, saliva testing took “at least five minutes”.
The Automobile Association (AA) said it was time for change.
“Drug driving is a hidden killer on New Zealand roads,” AA road safety spokesman Dylan Thomsen said.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/100776516/bill-aims-to-introduce-driver-drug-testing-for-mdma-cannabis-and-methamphetamine