Oral Fluid Tests to detect drug drivers

The Tasmania Police targets for conducting Oral Fluid Tests to detect drug drivers have increased this financial year.

The 2013 -14 Budget Chapter target for Oral Fluid Tests conducted was 1300, and the actual result was 1819 tests.

The 2014 -15 Budget Chapter target is to conduct 1500 Oral Fluid Tests (an increase of 200) and as Tasmania Police continues to focus on high risk behaviour, this target may well be exceeded.

Tasmania Police uses a range of strategies to focus on high-risk driving, with the aim to modify driver behaviour. Operational targets in this area have been increased because drink and drug driving are key causal factors in serious injury and fatal crashes.

2011 – 2012 – 1,678 oral fluid tests (OFTs) were conducted.
2012 – 2013, 1,698 OFTs
2013 – 2014, 1,819 OFTs

OFT is a more targeted approach than Random Breath Tests, and results in a higher ‘hit’ rate.

Results from Forensic Service Science Tasmania (FSST) show that the illicit drugs most commonly found in samples are Cannabis and Amphetamines. During the 2013 – 2014 reporting period, 614 blood tests were submitted following positive OFTs.

70% of these samples tested positive for Cannabis; 46% of samples tested positive for Amphetamines.

It should be noted from these figures that clearly some people drive under the influence of more than one illicit substance.

People who choose to operate vehicles while under the influence of illicit substances continue to be a concern for police and one of the focuses of our intelligence-led road safety strategies.

Scott Tilyard
Deputy Commissioner