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Older drivers a bigger risk of drug driving than teens: research

Research reveals that older drivers are a bigger risk of drug driving than teens, with many believing illicit drugs won’t affect their ability to drive.

RESEARCH COMMISSIONED by the Australian Road Safety Foundation to support the 10th anniversary of Fatality Free Friday (May 27) reveals that 25-34 year old drivers are becoming blasé about drug driving.

According to the research, more than one in 10 (11%) 25-34 year old drivers admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs in the last 12 months. Further findings suggest that a high number of Australians aged 25-34 consider drug driving to be less risky than drink driving, with one in five confessing to successfully avoiding penalties whilst driving under the influence of an illicit substance. Close to one in five (19%) also believe that ice, cocaine or acid won’t impact their ability to drive safely. 

Australian Road Safety Foundation CEO Russell White said this year’s Fatality Free Friday campaign will focus on reducing the prevalence of drug driving by educating individual road users on the significant risks and consequences of driving under the influence of an illicit substance.

“It is alarming that so many seemingly experienced drivers do not realise the extent to which drugs can impair their ability to drive safely,” Mr White said. 

“The effects of illegal substances will always be unpredictable. Drug use can impair vision, reaction time, judgement, hearing and memory and when combined with driving, the results can be devastating.

The research also suggested that close to a third (30%) of the population see taking drugs as being a normal part of life, and many say they wouldn’t intervene if someone they knew was to drug drive.

New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner John Hartley says that more work needs to be done to change Australia’s toxic drug-driving culture. 

“The difference between the incidence of drink driving (1 in 324) compared with drug driving (1 in 6) in New South Wales alone last year was staggering,” he said.

“This is something we’re determined to combat and motorists can expect to see a much greater presence of roadside drug tests across the country.

“We are proud to support the Australian Road Safety Foundation in spreading the road safety message far and wide, so that we can reduce the devastating traumas on our roads,” Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

If you would like to make your pledge to Fatality Free Friday, visit www.fatalityfreefriday.com or the Fatality Free Friday Facebook page.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober