South-west police are targeting drug impaired drivers more than ever with more test kits available and greater penalties.
Drug driving is now almost on a par with drink drivers with first-time offenders disqualified for six months from April 30 and subsequent offenders banned for 12 months.
Drink-driving bans depend on the prescribed concentration level recorded with penalties for subsequent positive tests doubled.
Prior to April 30 this year the penalty for drug-driving was a three-month ban for a first offence, and six months for subsequent offences.
South-west police road safety risk manager Senior Sergeant Chris Asenjo said 260 drug driver tests had been conducted since July 1 in the Warrnambool police service area, covering Moyne, Corangamite and Warrnambool councils.
"Of those 260 tests there have been 145 positive results for drugs. Evidentiary tests confirmed 135 of those tests with 10 drivers refusing to accompany police for the secondary tests," he said.
"That's a total of 145 drug impaired driving offenders, a positive result every 1.7 tests and a strike rate of better than 50 per cent."
Senior Sergeant Asenjo said one south-west officer had conducted 46 tests for 37 offenders at a strike rate of 80 per cent.
Victorians are being urged to keep each other safe on our roads this festive season with authorities on Monday launching a pre-Christmas appeal to drivers.
The devastating ‘death knock’ that police make when a person is killed on Victorian roads is at the heart of a new Transport Accident Commission campaign and road safety plea.
While the 195 lives lost so far this year is a record low for the start of December, it is no comfort for the families and friends facing Christmas without their loved ones.
With 23 people last year killed between the start of December and Christmas, drivers are being urged to make safe choices.
And now the state government has significantly increased the number of test kits available to police.
"One of our main focuses is impaired drivers,” Senior Sergeant Asenjo said.
“The experts say that any drugs in a driver's system leads to a significant level of impairment.
"The level of significant alcohol impairment has been set at .05. The problem with drugs is that they stay in a driver's system for much longer."
Senior Sergeant Asenjo said there was a significant investment being made.
"Because of those tests, driving on the roads is now safer. There are more tests, more people being caught and more impaired drivers being put off the roads."