MOTORISTS are being terrorised by a growing number of people on our roads who are under the influence of drugs.
Acting Senior Sergeant Dean Greenwood, of Warrnambool police, said drug driving was a growing issue.
He said over a four-day period during the May Racing Carnival, police conducted 1502 preliminary breath tests and only one driver returned a positive result, while there were 100 drug tests conducted and 11 people returned a positive test.
Senior Sergeant Greenwood said it was concerning there were people on the road who were impaired by drugs.
"We've had people - and I've dealt with them myself - who have taken an amphetamine-based product who have been awake for in excess of 24 hours and eventually your body will sleep," he said.
"There's a big risk of fatigue and impairment while driving."
Senior Sergeant Greenwood said he believed the drink driving message had got through to members of the public.
"People realise that if they do drink and drive they will run the risk of blowing over 0.5 and subsequently losing their licence," he said.
Senior Sergeant Greenwood said he hoped the message of the risks of drug driving would sink in.
"We'll be out there testing," he said.
"Don't risk it - if you kill someone, you end up in prison."
Simon Illingworth, a Corangamite Shire councillor and former policeman, said he was concerned about the spate of drug driving offences in the district recently.
"I think the scenario that is playing out now is probably only the tip of the iceberg," Cr Illingworth said.
"I don't think the statistics are telling the true impact of drug driving and additionally the seriousness of the issue."
Cr Illingworth said it was frightening that people were getting behind the wheel of a car with drugs in their system, in particular drugs like ice.
"It's one thing being affected by alcohol but it's another thing being affected by ice and having this extraordinary feeling that you're bullet proof and risking everyone's lives on the road."
Cr Illingworth said people affected by drugs often made rash decisions, resulting in incidents such as car chases with police.
He said he believed there needed to be an increase in funding for drug testing, which was costly but necessary.
The Transport Accident Condition states that 41 per cent of all drivers and motorcyclists killed in the past five years had drugs in their system, with cannabis and stimulants the most common substances detected.
In addition to that, one in four Victorians who use drugs admit to driving under the influence of recreational drugs.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said police needed better resources to tackle the issue of drug driving.
"This is the area we need to focus on," Ms Britnell said.
"We need to give our police the resources and the laws for them to be able to do what they are there to do and that is to keep the public safe.
"I feel the police are frustrated and hamstrung and all the government is doing is having a lot of talk fests.
"We know the risks on country roads are getting greater and we don't need the extra challenge of drug driving going unaddressed.
"We handled seatbelts in the `70s, we handled drink driving - this is the challenge of the 2000s and we need to address it."
Their comments come after Victoria Police released its Investigation into the falsification of Preliminary Breath Tests within Victoria Police.
One of the recommendations in the report was to review resources allocated to drug driving given the high number of drivers involved in fatal collisions impaired by drugs.
The report also revealed that almost 260,000 preliminary breath tests of 17 million in a five-year period were likely falsified.
It found the falsification was widespread, "impacting all regions".
The report also found that falsification methods had been developed and evolved over time.
"It has been a common experience for new recruits to be inducted into the early in their careers through instruction from more experienced members," the report states.
The report also found that many members considered the activities associated with meeting preliminary breath test targets impacted negatively on their ability to undertake their road policing and other community safety responsibilities.
For many years police have been required to do up to 50 tests a shift, despite whatever else was happening on their shift, such as crime, trauma, people suffering mental health issues and family violence.
Long-serving south-west officers have recalled that in the past, when vehicle registrations had to accompany tests, members recorded the numbers plates of passing cars and other registration details were obtained from car yards.
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