New SA Police powers see drug drivers immediately lose license

Drivers caught with drugs in their system will face an immediate loss of license under new police powers.

From Monday, South Australian Police will have the power to issue immediate loss of licence notices to drivers who test positive for prescribed drugs.

Currently, people caught drug driving face expiation notices or court summons’ that could then lead to a loss of license, but allows them to drive in the meantime.

Prescribed drugs include THC (found in cannabis), methamphetamines (speed, ice or crystal meth), MDMA (ecstasy) or any combination of these.

The new laws also give police powers to suspend or disqualify the license of anyone caught driving recklessly or dangerously.

Prior to the changes, police could only issue and immediate loss of license to drivers accused of exceeding the speed limit by 45 kmph or more, drink driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above, drivers who refuse a drug/alcohol test, or people who cause death by use of a motor vehicle.

Police Minister Joe Szakacs said there is no place for selfish and idiotic drug drivers on SA roads.

“It beggars belief that some people think it’s acceptable to drive after using drugs. These new laws will ensure those selfish motorists have a stern wake-up call,” Mr Szakacs said.

“The consequences are very real. If you hoon, drink or drug drive you will be caught and you will pay the price – be it a loss of license, impound of your vehicle or even jail time.”

Maximum fines for first offences involving excessive speed or dangerous driving have also been raised to $5,000, and motorists driving while suspended or disqualified could now be jailed for up to 12 months.

The changes come as 20 per cent of drivers or riders killed on SA roads in the past five years tested positive for a prescribed drug.

SA Police Assistant Commissioner Ian Parrott said the changes send a clear message that reckless and drug drivers don’t deserve to be on the road.

“Those who drive with drugs in their system or who drive dangerously are unable to react quickly or use good judgment on the roads,” he said.

“This puts other drivers, pedestrians, police and other road users at significant risk.”

Originally published as New SA Police powers see drug drivers immediately lose license

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