27 September 2023

SAPOL wins power to scrap licences

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South Australian police (SAPOL) now have the power to take a driver’s driving licence from them if he or she tests positive for prescribed drugs.

As of last week (6 February) under the new law, the police can issue an Immediate Loss of Licence (ILOL) notice to drug-driving drivers, effectively removing them from the road immediately.

According to SAPOL the new law is a significant change from the current process where offending drivers were issued with an expiation notice or summons to attend court, which may result in a loss of licence after they have continued driving.

SAPOL said that on average, over the past five years (2017-2021), 20 per cent of drivers and/or riders killed on South Australian roads tested positive for a prescribed drug.

It said prescribed drugs included THC (the active component in cannabis), methylamphetamine (speed, ice or crystal meth), MDMA (ecstasy) or a combination of those drugs.

In addition to the ILOL notices to drug drivers, the new laws also mean that a person driving recklessly or dangerously could have their licence suspended or disqualified by being issued an ILOL.

Assistant Police Commissioner Ian Parrott said SAPOL welcomed the new law saying it was another strategy to keep South Australians safe.

“Driving is a privilege,” AC Parrott said.

“These changes send a hard and clear message that reckless driving and those who choose to drive with drugs in their system are making a very dangerous decision,” he said.

“Those who drive with drugs in their system or who drive dangerously are unable to react quickly or use good judgement on the roads.

“This puts other drivers, pedestrians, police and other road users at significant risk.”

Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Joe Szakacs said there was no place on South Australian roads for selfish and idiotic drug drivers.

“The reckless decisions of drug drivers put everyone’s life at risk on the road, and all South Australians have seen the results of what can happen when people choose to get behind the wheel with drugs in their system,” Mr Szakacs said.

“The consequences are very real. If you hoon, drink or drug drive, you will be caught, and you will pay the price – be it a loss of licence, impound of your vehicle or even jail time,” Mr Szakacs said.

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