Magistrates' limited power to jail drug impaired drivers is sending the wrong message to the community, says the state opposition's rural roads spokeswoman.
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said the state government was failing to empower magistrates to jail drug drivers.
"I brought this issue to the government's attention last year, it is something that requires urgent attention and the government must act quicker," she said.
"We have a rising regional road toll and we know that drug driving has been playing a part in that. This being left unaddressed is sending the wrong message to the community."
On Monday Ashley Dannatt, 41, of Beamish Street, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to driving with a cocktail of drugs in his system during school pick-up in May, 2018.
He was also caught drug driving in January, 2018 and February 2 this year.
Magistrate Franz Holzer said he was unable to jail Dannatt even if he was tempted to.
It's not the first time a magistrate has expressed similar concerns in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court.
In October, magistrate Jon Klesdadt said state laws meant he was unable to jail a Warrnambool man caught driving on drugs seven times in six months. The offender was instead hit with a $2250 fine.
That same offender appeared in court in May, 2018, where magistrate Cynthia Toose said it was interesting she had no capacity to jail the man, especially when the community was deeply concerned about carnage on the roads.
A government spokeswoman said the Andrews Government had last year introduced "the toughest drink and drug driving laws of any jurisdiction in Australia".
She said from April, 30, 2018, licence bans for drug drivers increased from three to six months, and from six to 12 months for repeat offenders.
She said offences including driving under the influence, driving while impaired, and combined drink and drug driving carried terms of imprisonment ranging from three to 18 months. She said those offences had a higher evidentiary burden than a roadside drug test alone.
"These laws send a strong message that there's no excuse for drink or drug driving, which puts the safety of other drivers and the wider community at risk," she said.
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