More Drivers on Drugs than Intoxicated by Alcohol

Drugged driving is three times more common than drunken driving on the roads of the Australian State of Victoria.

A four month random roadside test program to identify alcohol and drugs found that an average of one in every 73 drivers tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine-based drugs, compared to an average of one in every 250 drivers being over the legal blood alcohol content limit.

The Victoria Police Minister was “concerned, surprised and disappointed” at the level of drug use among drivers. Thirty-one percent of drivers killed in traffic crashes tested positive for drugs.

"What's surprising ... is that we can go out at any time of the day and potentially get people driving with these sorts of illicit drugs," said the police leader, Bob Hastings. By contrast, drunk drivers were mostly caught at "high-alcohol times" on weekends and at night.

A big job lies ahead. Mr. Hastings said “It took us 30 years to change attitudes about drink-driving...We are going to have to tackle the same issue to bring about the cultural shift, to say that driving with these sort of illicit drugs in your system is not responsible and shouldn’t be condoned.”


  • Milovanovic, Selma. More drivers on drugs than alcohol. The Age, April 16, 2005; Wilson, Alex. One in 73 drivers on drugs. Brisbane Courier-Mail, April 15, 2005; Hodgson, Shelley. Drug drive rates top drinking. Melbourne Herald Sun, April 16, 2005; Caught out by roadside drug tests. Daily Telegraph, April 16, 2005; Bachelard, Michael. Culture of drug-driving shocks police. Weekend Australian, April 16, 2005.

Filed Under: Drinking and Driving