Force poised to enforce law on drug driving
The Road Traffic (Amendment) Ordinance 2011 came into effect on March 15, introducing new offences and providing police with additional enforcement powers. Amongst the powers is requiring drivers to provide blood or urine specimens and to undergo a preliminary drug test that includes Drug Influence Recognition Observations (DIRO), Impairment Tests (IT) and Rapid Oral Fluid Tests (ROFT). The power to require drivers to undergo ROFT will not be exercised until a suitable device is available.
On completion of the DIRO, if a police officer is of the opinion that a driver is under the influence of a drug, the officer may require the driver to undergo IT in one of ten designated Impairment Test suites. Overseas studies have confirmed that various forms of Impairment Test have accuracy rates as high as 95 per cent in predicting use of drugs.
It will be an offence for a driver to refuse to take a preliminary drug test or refuse to provide blood or urine specimens for laboratory analysis without a reasonable excuse.
A driver, who fails to undergo a preliminary drug test, or who is found impaired after taking the test, is required to surrender his or her
driving licence for 24 hours, during which driving is an offence. This provision of surrendering driving licence also covers drink driving offence, preventing a driver under the influence of drugs or drinking from causing further hazards to other road users.
For smooth enforcement of the new provisions, Traffic Branch has trained up 200 traffic officers for conducting preliminary drug tests. A briefing session was held on March 6 at Police Headquarters for over 200 supervisory officers from the five Regional Traffic Formations. Headquarters Order 2/2012 on Enforcement and Investigation of Drug Driving Offences has been issued and officers are reminded to strictly comply with the order.
In addition, two demonstration sessions on drug driving enforcement were held on March 10 at the Tactics Training Complex in Police College for officials from Transport and Housing Bureau and Transport Department, members of the Transport Advisory Committee and the Road Safety Council, as well as media representatives to observe the enforcement procedures.
Officer demonstrates use of the Impairment Testing Pupilometer
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