Random drug tests no deterrent to drug-users' driving

Angus Morgan

12 July, 2017

Burnet research has found that random drug testing of drivers in Australia is no deterrent to regular drug users.

The study, published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, assessed the impact of experiences of random drug testing (RDT) on more than 5000 illicit drug users from 2007 to 2013.

The authors concluded that although there is some evidence that drug-driving among key risk groups of regular drug users is declining in Australia, possibly reflecting a general deterrent effect of RDT, experiencing RDT appears to have no specific deterrent effect on drug-driving.

The study recommends that further intervention, with a particular focus on changing attitudes towards drug-driving, may be needed to further reduce this practice among these groups.

Lead author Dr Danielle Horyniak told News Limited the researchers expected that drug users who had encountered RDT would change their behaviour.

But the findings supported similar studies that found a similar lack of impact with alcohol testing.

“Compared with users who had never experienced random drug testing, there was no significant difference in recent drug driving among both participants who were tested once and participants who were tested more than once,’’ Dr Horyniak said.

“Our findings show that despite declines over time … experiencing testing appears to have no specific deterrent effect on drug-driving among (regular drug users).

“This finding raises questions about the potential effectiveness of RDT in identifying drivers who engage in drug-driving.’’

Find out more about Burnet Institute’s Behaviours and Risks research.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Doctor Danielle Horyniak

Honorary Staff member


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