Changes to road rules you need to know
A campaign will be launched to highlight the danger of drug-driving, including prescription medication.
The Australian Government is launching an awareness campaign that highlights the danger of driving whilst under the influence of medication which will include broadening drug-driving laws to automatically cover all prescription medications especially those that can cause impairment such as drowsiness.
It is not only going to focus on what drug the motorist has taken but also how it affects their driving. Changes to the current laws are set to take place in September this year.
NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey announced the initiative on Tuesday saying; “this is about reminding people that drugs can affect people differently and to have a little bit of common sense and be aware of the impact it might be having on you.”
As part of the road rule initiative, Ms. Pavey said the definition of ‘drug’ in the Road Transport Act would be changed so that people caught by police driving while impaired by “a broad range of new and emerging drugs” – including pharmaceuticals could be charged as being under the influence.
Before this law is legalised both general practitioners and pharmacists will be given formal training so that they are able to identify if some of the drugs they are prescribing their patients may affect them in a way that may cause them to be a risk on the roads. Patients that are in the Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) will also be required to pass fitness-to-drive tests.
The reason the Australian Government has decided to rework the current drug-driving road rules and the impact of prescription medications is after the tragic accident near Bendalong on Boxing Day last year that claimed the life of actor Jessica Falkholt, her sister, and both parents. The driver in the accident was driving home from a methadone clinic in Nowra when he veered onto the wrong side of the Princes Highway.
Chief Inspector Phil Brooks from NSW Police Traffic and Highway patrol has advised drivers that by the year 2020 there will have been 200,000 mobile drug tests. “Police right throughout NSW have all been trained. They’ve got significant resources and can do a mobile drug test roadside at any time.”