RANDOM drug testing of drivers is failing to act as a deterrent to regular users.
A study of about 5000 illicit drug users, including those in SA, found “experiencing RDT appears to have no specific deterrent effect on drug-driving” for this group.
Lead author Danielle Hory-niak, of the Burnet Institute, said attitudes needed to be changed among regular drug injectors and regular psychostimulant users whose personal experience of being tested had no effect.
The study, published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, compared the attitudes of those who had been stopped and tested, with those who had never been tested.
“Compared with users who had never experienced random drug testing, there was no significant difference in recent drug driving among both participants who were tested once and participants who were tested more than once,’’ she said.
“Our findings show that despite declines over time … experiencing testing appears to have no specific deterrent effect on drug-driving among (regular drug users).
This finding raises questions about the potential effectiveness of RDT in identifying drivers who engage in drug-driving.’’
Ms Horyniak said the researchers had expected to find those who had been tested once would change their behaviour. But the result had backed similar studies that identified the same lack of impact with alcohol testing.
Her study also identified that only a small number of drug users were being tested more than once.
Police have been criticised for scaling back drug-driver tests, as revealed by the Sunday Mail in December.