Five consecutive drivers tested positive for methamphetamine in Bunbury on the weekend. Police believe driving under the influence of drugs is a worse problem than drink driving in Western Australia's South West.
The claims came after random drug testing in Bunbury revealed a spate of drug-affected drivers. Over two and a half hours on Saturday morning, five consecutive drivers tested positive for methamphetamine.
Sergeant Craig Clarke, the officer in charge of South West traffic, said numbers were not consistently that high, but the drug was an increasing problem in the area and the ability of police to test for it was limited. "It's quite an anomaly to stop five cars and have five positive tests, but since we've started drug testing in the South West it has become evident that it is fairly prevalent," he said. "The amount of drivers that we test and that come back positive [for methamphetamine] is disappointing. I'd say it's probably more of an issue than drink driving at the minute."
Sergeant Clarke said the rise in drug driving was partly due to a change in attitudes towards drink driving. "I think drink driving is socially unacceptable now through education over the last 20 to 30 years, whereas the drugs scene hasn't been policed as much as drink driving," he said.
Drug users less likely to get caught: police
He said drug takers were more likely to risk driving because they were less likely to get caught. "The chances of you being stopped and drug tested are far less than for alcohol," Sergeant Clarke said. "Every officer has access to the machine to test for alcohol, whereas the drug testing is limited to a few specialist officers in the district."
The ages of the offenders caught on Saturday were a surprise to police - the youngest was 31-years-old. "The five that were tested on Saturday morning ranged from 31 to 47 years of age, so we're not talking inexperienced, immature young adults," Sergeant Clarke said. "We're talking about people of working and family age consuming meth and getting behind the wheel."
He said the drug did not discriminate, with both men and women returning positive readings and posing a potential risk to the public. "Meth, at the minute, seems the drug of choice," Sergeant Clarke said. "If you're going to consume alcohol or drugs, it's a decision for yourself to make, but please don't get behind the wheel and put your own life and everybody else's at risk."
Source: ABC News