ALMOST a third of drivers tested over an eight day period at the end of last month in the Greater Shepparton area, turned up positive readings for drugs.
From February 19 to 22 and 26 to 29, members of the State Highway Patrol focussed patrols in the region, where 149 drivers underwent drug testing and 44 drivers returning a positive reading to either methylamphetamine (ICE) or cannabis.
State Highway Patrol, Acting Senior Sergeant Tony Rayson said, “This is in vast contrast to where 1,800 motorists tested for alcohol, only six were above the legal limit, 1 in 3 compared with 1 in 300. Obviously the drink driving message has got through but drug driving is the new battle for both police and the community.”
Overall, 507 drivers were detected for a total of 616 offences which included 33 for driving whilst disqualified or unlicenced, 30 for using a mobile phone, 21 for failing to wear their seat belts and 244, almost half, for exceeding speed limits. 13 of the speeding drivers lost their licence as they were 25km/h over the posted limit ranging from speeds of 129km/h to 142km/h in 100km/h zones.
Police also issued 93 defective vehicle notices to have either unsafe vehicles repaired or illegal modifications rectified.
“On Sunday February 21, a 19 year old Brunswick female driver detected at 135km/h on the Tatura-Murchison Road, also returned a positive drug test to methylamphetamine (ICE),” Acting Senior Sergeant Rayson said.
“High speed, drugs and inexperience is a lethal mix which could have ended in tragedy on this occasion.
“Further drivers detected speeding included a 19 year old Chadstone male who was intercepted along the Midland Highway, Cosgrove travelling at 134km/h, a 34 year old Nathalia female on the Goulburn Valley Highway, Shepparton North travelling at 142km/h and a 61 year old on New Dookie Road, Pine lodge travelling at 129km/h.”
“Further patrols by the State Highway Patrol to the Greater Shepparton area planned over the coming months,” Acting Senior Sergeant Rayson said.