Roadside drug tests in Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia Shire by Frontline Tactical Unit police since 1 February have detected more than two dozen drug drivers, police say.
It’s the first time police outside of Highway Patrol units and booze and drug bus operations have conducted driver drug testing.
So far, 27 drug drivers have been detected.
“This trial means there is nowhere to hide if you think it’s acceptable to drive on drugs,” says Senior Sergeant Luke Holmes of the Southern Metro Region Division 3 Frontline Tactical Unit.
“Some people think they can spot the police cars that do this type of testing. Now, any police car in their rearview mirror could be the one that catches you.”
According to Victoria Police, drug driving is a rising factor in the road toll. It contributes to about 30 per cent of deaths on the road.
Methamphetamine is the most common substance detected in roadside drug tests.
In 2021, 33 lives were lost on South East roads – more than four times higher than the nine deaths in the previous year.
Drugs were a factor in several of the fatal crashes.
So far in 2022, seven people have died on South East roads.
Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir said: “Make no mistake. Drugs are a killer on Victoria’s roads.
“This initiative is just one way we’re detecting and deterring impaired drivers who think it’s OK to get behind the wheel and put the safety of others at risk.”
The trial will continue until the end of the month.
Victoria Police will then consider whether to expand its drug driver testing regime of about 150,000 tests a year.