Full dual bus contingent launched
Release date: Fri 7 December 2007
Last updated: Fri 7 December 2007
Drivers who choose to drink or take drugs and drive will be more heavily scrutinised than ever with the official launch of the full contingent of dual booze and drug buses today.
Premier John Brumby, Police Minister Bob Cameron and Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner (Region 4) Bob Hastings unveiled the full fleet of eight 'Double Trouble' buses at the Dawson Street Police Complex in Brunswick on 4 December.
The conversion from booze bus to dual bus in order to test for both drugs and alcohol has been taking place in the vehicles since December last year.
Mr Hastings said the official launch was appropriate given December is the third anniversary of drug testing for drivers by Victoria Police.
"Victoria Police currently has its highest level of strong, agile, robust enforcement methods ever to deal with alcohol and drug impaired drivers," he said.
"The ability of police to test drivers for both substances will greatly increase road safety in Victoria, by removing offending drivers and deterring others from taking the risk.
"We have eight buses now with the capacity to test drivers for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system, while we also operate on the basis that every police vehicle is potentially a booze bus.
"Today’s launch provides the ideal time to remind motorists that this type of behaviour is simply not acceptable as it puts the lives of all other road users at the time in danger.
"That means if you do choose to take the risk of drinking or taking drugs then getting behind the wheel, you have more chance than ever of being caught and dealt with by police."
As of 2 December this year, there have been 44,062 drivers tested for drugs throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria since the inception of the program.
There have been 809 positive readings or a 1:54 ratio of drivers tested recording a positive result.
In 2006, police conducted 3,432,387 random breath tests, with 21,166 drivers recording a blood alcohol concentration over 0.05. This equates to a ratio of 1:162 drivers.
Police initially began testing drivers for cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol) and methamphetamine on 13 December, 2004, with the program extended to include ecstasy (MDMA) on 1 September, last year.
Mr Hastings said police target specific locations where they know people take the risk of driving under the influence of illicit drugs.
"Police have drug-tested drivers throughout regional Victoria as well as in metropolitan areas," he said.
"Locations such as nightclub strips, rave parties and trucking routes have proved successful in detecting drug-drivers and taking them off our roads.
"Driving under the influence of any illicit drug is extremely dangerous, but a combination of illicit drugs or drugs and alcohol is a death trap situation.
"Alcohol is well-known as one of the major contributors to the incidence of collisions resulting in death and serious injury on our roads, whilst just under 20 per cent of motorists killed have the presence of drugs in their system.
"As we head into the busy holiday period, I urge all drivers to plan ahead and not risk a fine or serious accident by getting behind the wheel when they have drugs or alcohol in their system."
Victoria Police conducts a number of regular operations targeting both drug and alcohol affected drivers. This includes Operation RAID (Remove All Impaired Drivers), which is Australia’s largest traffic operation involving police from Victoria, NSW, ACT and South Australia.
By Natalie Webster