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New Zealand: Drugged Driving Tests 
Starts For The New Year


                   Return To OnlinePot’s Legal Section Main Page       

 FOR JANUARY 1st 2007
Northland police have launched their holiday
 drink-drive blitz but will soon be able to stop and test drivers for drugs as well.

The Government has announced that driving while impaired by illegal drugs will become a new offence, attracting the same penalties as drink driving.

The same roadside impairment test used for alcohol will be applied when police suspect a driver is impaired by illegal drug use.

The compulsory roadside test includes an eye examination, a balance test, a walk and turn test and other similar tasks.  If drivers fail the roadside test they will be required to provide a blood test and could be charged on the basis of that.

Northland police and road safety officials say that with the number of drug-affected drivers on the increase, the new test is a positive move.

Northland’s Traffic Alcohol Group chief Senior Sergeant Alastair Ward said testing for drugs was an extension of the team’s current duties.

"Without a doubt there are some drivers out there taking drugs.  At the end of the day they are just as dangerous as the drunk driver," Mr Ward said.

"We need to check for the whole package, not just drunk drivers."

Given the high number of people convicted of cannabis offences in Northland it stood to reason there would be a high number of people driving under the influence of drugs and the statistics back him up.

The last in-depth study done into the number of motorists killed in Northland road crashes showed a high number had smoked cannabis.  It revealed 39.3 percent of dead Northland drivers had cannabis in their blood, almost double the 21.1 percent national figure.

Police National Headquarters Superintendent Dave Cliff said the impairment test had a lower threshold than the existing test, which measured whether a driver was "incapable of proper control".  The roadside drug test is not compulsory under present law.

Professor Douglas Sellman, from the National Addiction Centre of Psychological Medicine, said the move was a positive one but he feared the tests may catch the wrong people out.

"It’s cognitive testing which may catch out some older people who have health issues."

Ministry of Transport figures showed drugs were suspected in 36 crashes last year.  Drugs were proven in three crashes.

There were 383 crashes where alcohol was suspected.

The Government’s road safety policy statement said there were more than 100 fatal crashes each year where alcohol was a contributing factor.

Transport Minister Annette King said it was difficult to pinpoint the level of illegal drug use in drivers "because we do not routinely test for drugs".

But she said illegal drug use among drivers, particularly young drivers, was higher than the statistics suggested.

The new offence would apply only to illegal drugs nd she hoped the Government could bring in legislation creating the new offence early next year.

However, Whangarei lawyer Dave Sayes said that under the Transport Act police were already able to charge drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs.  "The power already exists but the police really haven’t utilized it.  This is a duplication – end of story."


 What The Police Will Be Looking For While They Administer This "New Drugged
 Diving Test"  In New Zealand. & Its Only A "Matter Of Time" Before This "Clearly Medically Flawed" Roadside Testing. Will Be Started Somewhere Here Inside The USA.  & Any Of The "Elderly Folks/Patients" & Those Of Us USA Valid Medical Patients With "Spinal Injuries" That Effect Our Legs, Will Not  Be Able To Even Pass This "New Flawed Testing Method". 

 Simple Because "Our Legs" Are Just "No Longer Even Physically  Capable" Of Performing This New "Now Legal Methods" That They Are Using "For This Roadside Drugged Driving Testing" Whether  We Are "Impaired" Or Stone Cold "Clean & Sober" For Years. This New Test "If It Makes It Here To The USA" Will Rapidly Become a "Direct Violation Of The Americans With Disability’s Act"  Chris K.

1.  Balance: Driver asked to stand up straight, feet together, hands by side.  Tilt head back and close eyes.  Remain like this for 30 seconds.  Driver indicates when they think time is up.

2.  Walk the line: Driver to walk toe-to-heel for nine steps, make a balanced turn, then repeat toe-to-heel back along line.  Arms down by side during this one.

3.  One leg stand: Stand with feet together, arms down by sides, raise right foot off ground, hold for about 30 seconds.  Repeat on other leg.

4.  Finger to nose: Close eyes, tilt head back and with nominated finger touch nose.  Officer will get driver to alternate fingers and repeat about six times.

5.  Officers will be watching for swaying, loss of balance, ability to follow instructions and will examine drivers eyes for any pupil irregularities or eye redness.  Age will be taken into consideration. 


    URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06.n1715.a06.html
Newshawk: http://www.norml.org.nz
 Votes: 0
Pubdate: Tue, 19 Dec 2006
Source: Northern Advocate (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2006 Northern Advocate
Contact: http://www.northernadvocate.co.nz/info/letters/
Website: http://www.northernadvocate.co.nz
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2929
Author: Kristin Edge