Officials have had to backtrack on a key roadside drug-testing strategy, as the technology required doesn’t exist.
It’s part of the Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ campaign and was supposed to be enforced by Police from next Saturday.
Saliva tests were a key strategy of the Government to get drugged drivers off our roads.
However, officials have now had to make a major U-turn.
“This is really disappointing, we thought this was going to be game-changing legislation,” Police Association President Chris Cahill told Newshub.
Testing kits were due to roll out next Saturday so Police could enforce the Government’s drug driving amendment act.
But in a statement provided to Newshub, Associate Transport Minister Kiri Allan said Police advised they were unable to find the technology capable of providing saliva roadside testing.
“The tech doesn’t exist in the world, and Police did advise the select committee of this from the start, so it’s not Police’s fault,” Police Association President Chris Cahill said.
While National Party Transport Spokesperson Simeon Brown said it was a failure by the Government.
“This is an absolute failure, it passed legislation, and the Government gave officials a whole year to get this sorted,” Brown said.
The amended act aims to bring down the number of drivers impaired by drugs including prescription medicines, which contributed to 19 percent of fatal crashes in recent years.
“This Government just cannot deliver safe roads,” Brown told Newshub.
Police will continue to require a blood test from drivers they suspect are impaired because of drugs, and will be able to enforce heftier infringements from March 11.
Fines of up to 6,000 dollars and driver disqualification.
“Police have done the right thing here, if the tech isn’t working let’s not rush out dodgy tech,” Drug Foundation Executive Director Sarah Helm said.
The Ministry of Transport and Police said they are developing further advice for Government on the next steps for random roadside drug testing.