Today’s passing in Parliament of the Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill is a win for road safety, says Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand chief executive Nick Leggett.

“We have supported this law since 2019 when it was first proposed because we know how dangerous drivers under the influence of drugs are on New Zealand roads – in 2020, of the 318 people who died on our roads, 101 of them had drugs in their system,” Leggett says.

“That compares with 2014 when there were 18 deaths as a result of drug impairment. Clearly something had to be done when the increased use of drugs became responsible for about a third of our already horrific road toll.

“We thank the Ministers who have supported this Bill along the way, including Hon Julie Anne Genter, and now Transport Minister Michael Wood who has seen it passed into law.

“This will see infringement offences being made available to the Police for drivers who have used any of 25 drugs, both legal and illegal, including THC, methamphetamine, MDMA, opioids and cocaine.

“This is important to the road freight transport industry because for our truck drivers, the road is their workplace. They can be the best driver in the world, but up against someone flying high, the risks to their safety are elevated. All our operators want to see their drivers home safely at the end of each shift and we hope this law will contribute to that.

“It allows for random roadside oral fluid testing for specified drugs. The aim is to deter people from driving while under the influence of drugs and it is important to note it is an infringement offence, not a criminal offence.

“We want to see adequate Police resources put into holding up this law once it is enacted so we can see less dangerous drugged drivers, making our roads safer,” Leggett says.

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