Developments in mobile drug testing


Developments with MDT in New South Wales: Cocaine Testing

The concept of Mobile Drug Testing (MDT) is a recent development which has been implemented by the State Government towards the ongoing war against drugs. Although it may not presently be a significant part of the motoring culture of New South Wales, it is predicted that law enforcement authorities will continue to increase the number of MDTs taken every year, to ensure safety on our roads by decreasing the number of drug-impaired drivers who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Earlier last week, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that the State Government will be working towards strengthening existing road laws, and doubling the number of mobile drug tests taken in 2018. This announcement came following recently released death toll figures for 2017 – 392 people lost their lives on New South Wales Roads, whereby 36 fatalities from this figure were directed linked to drug-impaired drivers.

Premier Berejiklian also announced that the New South Wales Police Force will be adding cocaine to their list of drugs that will be tested under the MDT scheme around the state, commenting that “we need to ensure that drivers are not impaired and a risk to others on the road”. The Police Force anticipates that roadside MDTs undertaken around the state will increase from 100,000 a year, to 200,000 a year by 2020. Up until this point, motorists have only been tested for the presence of cannabis, amphetamines, methamphetamine (ice), and MDMA, during roadside tests, and the Government’s decision to introduce cocaine testing is warmly welcomed by many members of the community.


What Happens If You Get Pulled Over for an RBT?

The MDT process is simply an extension of the already prominent Random Breath Test (RBT) scheme. In essence, if you are pulled over for an RBT, there is also a good chance that you will also be asked to participate in an MDT.

The RBT process is simple – you will most likely be asked to blow into a breathalyser tube, or count numbers into the testing device. The MDT process requires the participant to wipe a MDT test stick and wipe it down their tongue, to collect enough saliva and conduct an initial test. The testing process takes roughly three minutes – if your results are negative, you will be good to go.

If your MDT results are positive, you will be asked to take part in another (more detailed) drug test. If your second test results are positive, you will have to leave your vehicle parked where it is (if it is parked in a no stopping or no parking area, you may need to call a friend or family member to drive the vehicle, otherwise you may be liable to pay towing costs) and will be barred from getting behind the wheel for the next 24 hours. Your samples will be sent to a testing laboratory, and if those results show the presence of ecstasy, cannabis, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine, you will be formally charge by the police for an offence of drug driving.

The maximum penalty for being under the influence of drugs behind the wheel is currently $1,100 with an automatic licence disqualification period of 6 months. The Berejiklian Government is proposing to increase the penalty to $3,300, which is the current fine payable for high-range drink driving.

How can Sydney Traffic Lawyers help?

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