Former roads cop reveals shocking step taken due to cost of drug testing
A former leading senior constable, who spent a decade in road policing, says a drug bus was pulled from Victorian roads because of the cost of operating it.
Mark Vipond retired from Victoria Police last year after 34-years in the force, and spent his final ten years as a police officer working in the road policing drug and alcohol section in Brunswick.
He says drug driving is “out of control in this state and has been for a long time”.
Mr Vipond says the cost of testing for drugs is prohibitive, and he knows of one instance in late 2018 where a drug bus was pulled from Melbourne’s northern suburbs because of the cost.
“They actually got more drug drivers than drink drivers,” he told Neil Michell.
“The numbers, the costs, it just becomes too much and they just had to shut it down. It’s as simple as that, because of the cost.”
He says he “wouldn’t be surprised” if drug buses are still being taken off the roads when the cost of running them becomes too high.
According to Mr Vipond, a preliminary drug test costs about $40. If that returns a positive result, oral fluid testing costs about $600, and if testing for synthetic drugs is required that can blow out to $1200.
“It gets out of control with the costs,” he said.
The fine for a first drug driving offence is $496 — not even enough to cover the testing costs.
Mr Vipond is calling for an overhaul of the penalties for drug drivers.
“My idea would be to crush the car or the state government become used car sellers and confiscate the car,” he said.
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Image: Ashley Cooper / Getty