Media Release: 29th May, 2011 Flawed and Unscientific Drug-driving Law Should be Repealed, say Democrats.

DARREN CHURCHILL
ACT Democrats President

Media Release: 29th May, 2011

Flawed and Unscientific Drug-driving Law Should be Repealed, say Democrats.

The Legislative Assembly should repeal its draconian Drug Driving legislation says ACT Democrats President, Darren Churchill.

Amendments which were passed by the Assembly on 1st December 2010 and 13th May 2011, have been rolled out in indecent haste in a matter of days.

Laws continuing to allow a prescribed concentration of alcohol, 0.05 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) will be in complete contrast to the zero tolerance approach in relation to drugs.

“This law should be repealed and should not be re-introduced until there is a proven scientific method of measuring the relationship between different quantities and types of drugs and the level of impairment to driving associated with them for a legislated drug induced impairment equivalent to 0.05 BAC scientifically established.”

“The law makes a mockery of the rules of evidence by disregarding the level of a drug required for impairment. This is just a facade of trying to appear tough on drugs with no real intention of improving road safety or public safety. Police resources would be better utilised in improving the overall enforcement of traffic laws and other laws” Mr Churchill continued.

“The legislation still does not contain even so much as a statement of intent about ‘road safety’ despite Democrat calls for it last year. And it still doesn’t appear to have addressed the concerns raised by the Human Rights Commissioner, nor the disregard of the rules of evidence. Yet, now it’s the law! What protections are there for persons randomly tested to ensure the results of any specimens collected under the legislation will not be able to be used to establish any offence that is not related to road safety?”

“Traffic Operations Officer-in-Charge Sergeant Jeff Knight has claimed that police will conduct random roadside drug testing in similar ways to drink driving operations. However, how can this be the case when Attorney-General Simon Corbell has admitted that drivers can expect to be detained on the roadside for up to ten minutes?” questioned Mr Churchill.

“Drivers will be detained without even the suspicion of the commission of a crime? It makes every driver or driving instructor into a suspected criminal!” Mr Churchill declared.

“In my submission (on behalf of the ACT Democrats), to Territory and Municipal Services just over three years ago, I recommended a BAC equivalent of impairment for drugs be scientifically established, before implementing such legislation.

“Our legislators are clearly more concerned about increasing police powers than they are about human rights and road safety. The law is unfair, unjust unsatisfactory and completely unimpressive. It must be repealed!” Mr Churchill concluded.

CONTACT:

Darren Churchill

President, Australian Democrats (ACT Division)

darren.churchill@act.democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

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