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New Zealand amends roadside screening tests to get drug drivers off road

Indian-origin man sentenced for dangerous driving, abusing cop in Singapore. Image Source: IANS News

Wellington, Aug 18 : New Zealand is changing the roadside drug testing regime to ensure police have the right tools to get dangerous drug-impaired drivers off the road, Justice Minister Ginny Andersen said on Friday.

Police can already conduct compulsory impairment tests on drivers whom they have good cause to suspect have used drugs. Under this new approach, positive saliva tests will be sent to the lab for evidential testing before an infringement notice is issued, Xinhua news agency quoted Andersen as saying.

Drivers who have two positive screening tests will be banned from driving for 12 hours, according to the new approach.

“The introduction of roadside screening tests is a sensible, practical move that will detect qualifying drugs and help remove impaired drivers from behind the wheel,” Andersen said.

Each year police send around 500 blood samples to the lab following roadside compulsory impairment tests.

Roadside screening tests will complement that existing process and will mean that police will be able to drug test more drivers, she said.

These amendments also introduce a new offense for people who refuse an oral fluid screening test, punishable by an infringement fee of NZ$400 ($237) and 75 demerit points, she added.

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