Coroner David Robinson’s chilling findings about dopes on dope, behind the wheel, are stark. His review of nine fatal vehicle crashes is a wake up call to the aloof, who still think cannabis is harmless.
The coroner is warning of the menace of drug-impaired driving, after finding cannabis was implicated in six of the nine fatalities, he was required to examine.
Six in nine.
You only have to look at the fatal crash stats in Colorado to see the perverse surge in cannabis-related road deaths, after that state legalised recreational use.
Thank God the Chloe Swarbrick’s of this world were defeated and stopped at making our current plight, even worse.
The Coroner’s insights are further proof why rapid roadside drug-testing is so badly needed. It’s shameful that it has taken so long. When National was last in government, Stuart Nash hounded them to roll it out. And yet now, Nash’s crew are into their second term in power, and the wait goes on.
The public desire for real road enforcement against drug-driving is huge. Even Julie Anne Genter was recently forced to admit, that the drug factor in our road toll is horrendous. In July, she confirmed that over a hundred people died in crashes last year where the driver had drugs in their system. That drug factor in dead drivers, by the way, amounted to just under a third of all road fatalities last year.
And the AA has produced fatal crash data to indicate that drug-driving is an equal menace if not a bigger menace now, than drink-driving.
Finally, we have legislation before the house that will implement rapid roadside drug-testing, next year. We are light years behind the UK, the US, Canada and Australia in taking the fight to this scourge. Under our roll-out, it will be a two-step regime. There will be fines for drivers who test positive for the presence of drugs. And harsher criminal penalties if you breach the specified impairment levels. Roll on 2021. It cannot come soon enough.