Drug testing on Queensland road a necessity

Like other states, drug testing on Queensland roads has its share of criticism, chief being that roadside drug testing catches people who are safe to drive and therefore shouldn’t be punished. However, with Australian states using the latest saliva drug testing methods, this criticism is unfounded in our books. Saliva drug testing provides a true indication of whether people are safe to drive or not, which is why we recommend saliva drug testing in workplaces.

Like alcohol testing before it (which also had its fair share of critics in early days), drug testing on Queensland roads can save lives.

Drug testing increase in Queensland

In February, the Queensland Government announced plans to conduct thousands more roadside drug tests each year, as part of a new strategy to tackle methamphetamine use.

It’s expected that over 12,000 additional drug tests will be conducted on Queensland roads annually, a significant increase on the 62,000 tests that were carried out in 2017.

“There is a disturbing number of drug drivers on our roads in Queensland with almost 11,000 motorists returning a positive drug test last financial year,” said Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan.

“That is far too many drivers and riders creating a dangerous environment for all other road users across our state.”

Queensland Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating said police take a zero tolerance approach to drug drivers.

“Much like drink driving, the community does not accept the lives of innocent people being put at risk by someone driving while affected by drugs. We now have more than 500 officers trained in roadside drug testing and we will continue to conduct targeted operations on roads right across Queensland,” Assistant Commissioner Keating said.

Roadside drug testing facts, Queensland

  • 10,804 drug drivers returned positive roadside drug tests in 2015/2016 compared with 3,178 in 2014/2015.
  • 51,389 roadside drug tests were conducted in 2016/2017 compared with 49,445 in 2015/2016 and 20,289 in 2014/2015.
  • 502 officers have been trained to carry out roadside drug testing since the program started in 2014, when 60 officers had been trained.

Queensland roadside drug testing shame file

  • A male driver recorded positive to both marijuana and methamphetamines when he was pulled over by Queensland Police for drug testing on Christmas Day 2017. He was found guilty in court a few days ago. It’s the driver’s second drug driving offence. He has also been charged with drink driving in the past.
  • A male driver, high on ICE and other drugs, who crashed head-on with another car badly injuring the driver, has been again caught by police during drug testing. The man spent 15 months in jail for the first incident and has now been sent back to jail for a further six months.

Expect more drug testing to be carried out on Queensland roads, with the announcement of a new strategy to combat methamphetamines.


John is the Queensland Manager of Integrity Sampling QLD and is based in the Brisbane office. Integrity Sampling provides its range of drug and alcohol management services, including drug and alcohol testing, right across the state. You can connect with John Lorenzen on LinkedIn

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