Why RDT (roadside drug testing) is failing

by Aslan Shand on echo.net.au

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In a recent post ‘How to argue with those who support drug driving testing’ on the North Coast RDT Locations discussion Facebook page, Heilpern runs through the reasons why the RDT program fails the basic premise of improving road safety and is instead a program that is ‘unjustifiable’. And he is not alone in this argument. Echonetdaily also spoke to both Mick Palmer, former Commissioner of the Federal Australian Police and Northern Territory Police Force, and NSW Greens Drug Law Reform and Harm Reduction spokesperson, Cate Faehrmann, to explore the issue.

For all three the key issue is ‘impairment’, that is, at what level does the presence of drugs in a driver’s system impair the ability of the driver to respond, to reduce the risk of accidents when they are behind the wheel. This is also termed ‘affectation’. In relation to drug testing Heilpern points out that the current RDT program is not about determining someone’s ability to drive, as is the case with testing for alcohol, but rather it ‘is a prohibition measure’.