Sen Sgt Craig Stevens with a drug testing kit. Picture: Alison Wynd
Sen Sgt Craig Stevens with a drug testing kit. Picture: Alison Wynd

Where police are targeting drug-drivers in Capricornia

Central Queensland motorists be warned – if you take any drugs and drive from now until June 30, your chances of getting caught are higher than ever.

Drivers who have taken drugs account for 10 per cent of road fatalities, so Queensland Police have launched operation Tango Anaconda with the aim of decreasing road deaths.

Calliope Road Policing Unit officer in charge Senior Sergeant Shaune English said the operation would focus on high visibility random drug testing aimed at deterring drug-driving offences and preventing serious and fatal crashes.

“10 per cent of fatalities on our roads involve drug-driving and you are 10 times as likely to be responsible for a crash with drugs in your system,” he said.

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Senior Sergeant Shaune English appeals to drivers as the state exceeds the annual road toll.
Senior Sergeant Shaune English appeals to drivers as the state exceeds the annual road toll.

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“This is one strategy to address our fatalities to put in a concerted effort towards drug-driving.

“At the same time it gives us a high visibility presence on the roads.

“So while we will be targeting drug-driving, at the same time we will be doing drink-driving tests and anything else we happen to find when we pull cars over.”

Snr Sgt English said following the highest number of deaths on Queensland roads in the past decade last year, fatalities were almost double what they were at the same time in 2020.

“The road toll is double what we were this time last year,” he said.

There had been 43 fatalities on the state’s roads at February 25, compared to 20 last year.

“In the Gladstone area we are already equal with the number of fatalities from last year and only the first two months of 2021 have passed.”

Illicit drugs aren’t the only substances concerning for police.

“If you’re driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance, whether it’s legal drugs or illegal drugs, you are placing yourself and other people at risk,” Snr Sgt English said.

“With drug-driving, some substances are not something that clears your system immediately.

“Quite often for some of the drugs it can be some days after they are consumed that we will still catch people with them in their system.

“In those instances its not the intoxication, it's the presence that creates the offence.

“The intoxication, if we find it, just makes for a more serious offence.”

Police also conduct alcohol, drug and speed testing of drivers on beaches where motorists are permitted to drive. Photo: John McCutcheon
Police also conduct alcohol, drug and speed testing of drivers on beaches where motorists are permitted to drive. Photo: John McCutcheon

Prescription drugs can also be a problem for police.

“We’ve also had people where they have over subscribed themselves on subscription drugs, which is just as bad, if not worse, than alcohol and illicit drugs in some ways,” Snr Sgt English said.

“If we stop somebody and they are showing signs of some sort of intoxication, we can arrest them and take their blood for testing.”

Snr Sgt English said anyone in control of a vehicle on any public road who was intoxicated could, and would, be caught by police.

“There are the police cars you see and the cars you don’t see on our roads,” he said.

“We still operate a number of unmarked cars, so sometimes we see you, but you don’t see us.”

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