The legal loophole that allows repeat drug drivers to avoid jail
Repeat drug drivers are escaping jail sentences due to a legislative loophole.
Magistrate Rodney Crisp blasted the legislative shortfall after hearing a case involving a man caught driving on ice and cannabis three times in three months.
The harshest penalty Mr Crisp was able to hit the man with was a $20,000 fine and a two year driving ban.
There are two types of drug driving offences, one of which cannot result in jail time.
The more common offence, which is having a concentration of drugs in your blood, does not have jail time as a penalty for first or subsequent offences.
A second offence, driving whilst impaired by a drug, can result in jail time.
However, it’s less frequently used because police must establish impairment in driving.
Supervising Magistrate at the Drug Court, Tony Parsons, said current drug tests cannot measure impairment level, limiting the frequency with which the harsher penalty can be used.
“There’s no doubt that the presence of drugs in humans involved in car accidents is quite high,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
“The problem we have is just the way we test for drugs, because it doesn’t actually test for impairment.”
Mr Parsons said he would support harsher penalties for drug impairment while driving if testing were improved.
“If we were able to test for drugs that measured a persons impairment then I think we should, with a strong argument, introduce laws that are equivalent to alcohol,” he said.
“If someone is driving a motor vehicle, putting all of us at risk, and is intoxicated or unable to exercise proper control of that vehicle because of substances they’ve chosen to use, then yes, they should face the full force of the law.
“I just think before we deprive people of their liberty … we need to be reasonably sure that, in fact, their driving was impaired.”
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