Behind the Wheel

Young men in Australia are in danger from their own risk-taking behavior.

David Healy, General Manager of the Road Safety, Transport Accident Commission of Victoria thinks so, anyway. And his views are backed by 2006 research that reveals 25% of young drivers in the 18-24 year age group have driven after taking recreational drugs.[1]

One of the problems with drug-driving and risk-taking behaviour is perception and focus on alcohol. For years, Australia and most industrialised countries have focused on the problem of alcohol and driving. While this has been necessary, it is only relatively recently that public perception and legislative and social pressure has come to bear on the combination of drugs and youth behind the wheel.

Even within the 18-24 year age group, which has a higher rate of drug-driving than older sectors of the community, the misconception that a mix of alcohol and driving is more dangerous than a mix of drugs and driving, holds true. In fact, “twice as many young drivers as older drivers believe that taking recreational drugs is safer than driving after drinking.” [2]

In view of this, Healy reinvigorates discussion on the importance of drug testing as an ongoing part of addressing youth drug-driving and other associated risk-taking behaviour.

“A key focus for some jurisdictions is… appropriate roadside enforcement regimes that deploy new technologies to detect specific drugs in the system,” he said. “Carefully targeted enforcement continues to be a very important means of reducing high risk behaviours, and can apply just as effectively in addressing drug-driving as it does drink-driving.”[3]

CMM Technology concurs, and currently supplies various jurisdictions with cutting edge testing technologies that are able to contribute to a reduction in risk-taking behaviours in the 18-24 age group. A number of high quality saliva testing products are available and suitable for on-site or roadside use.

The Young Driver Index 2006 has also revealed that drivers “who say they have driven after using recreational drugs are also more likely to exhibit other careless attitudes when driving.” In short, they are more likely to “drive when they are over the .05 blood-alcohol limit (71% compared  to 31% of non-drug drivers,) and they are also more likely to run a red light, use their mobile phone or send text messages while in the driver seat.”[4]

Without doubt, roadside drug testing is an effective and necessary strategy in the fight against youth vehicular accidents and fatalities.

Call CMM Technology for further information on 08 9204 2500


[1] Young Drivers Index, 2006 : http://www.aami.com.au/sites/default/files/fm/news/special-reports/AAMIYoungDriversIndex2004.pdf

[2] Ibid.

[3] Healy, David, Combating the Culture of Risk-Taking, Young Drivers Index, 2006.

[4] Ibid.

Tags: , , ,