19 Griffith L. Rev. 330 (2010)
Detouring Civil Liberties - Drug-Driving Laws in Australia

handle is hein.journals/griffith19 and id is 332 raw text is: DETOURING CIVIL LIBERTIES?
Drug-Driving Laws in Australia
Jeremy Prichard, Allison Matthews, Raimondo Bruno, Katherine Rayment
and Helen James
This article provides an overview of the new drug-driving laws
that exist in Australia. It explains that, like drink-driving
offences, the drug-driving laws prima facie infringe civil
liberties. Yet these infringements are permissible, providing the
laws promote road safety and thereby the civil liberty of the
right to life. The article then analyses empirical evidence
concerning the effects of different illicit drugs on driving skills. It
is argued that it is not practical or necessary to require this
evidence base to match the standard reached with respect to
alcohol. However, suggestions are made as to how drug-
driving legislation could better promote road safety, including
by recognising the interrelationships between drug-driving,
drug-dependency and unemployment. The final section of the
article critically examines aspects of Tasmanian law, which
appear to focus more upon drug law enforcement than the
enhancement of road safety.
Introduction
This article discusses new powers that have been enacted nationally to
regulate drivers' consumption of illicit drugs. The first section explains that
these so-called 'drug-driving' laws essentially extend police powers that
were originally granted to govern alcohol and drink-driving. The
infringements that these laws make upon civil liberties are justifiable, it is
argued, providing their objective is to promote road safety. However, the
article explains that while the evidence base concerning alcohol and traffic
accidents is well established, there is less certainty about the effects of the
various illicit drugs. The article suggests that it is not practical or necessary
for research to determine precise safety cut-off levels, similar to the
0.05g%/IOOmL limit for alcohol. Notwithstanding this, there is a need for
debate on what constitutes credible empirical evidence linking each drug
type to driving impairment.
*   Dr Jeremy Prichard, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania; Dr Allison Matthews,
School of Psychology and Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Tasmania; Dr Raimondo
Bruno, School of Psychology, University of Tasmania; Katherine Rayment, PhD
candidate, Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies; Helen James, PhD candidate,
Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania.

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