Parliament: Speeches on Bills

Statutes Amendment (Drink and Drug Driving) Bill

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I will briefly put on the record Dignity Party’s support for the Statues Amendment (Drink and Drug Driving) Bill 2017. I also appreciate that the minister’s office has provided a briefing to my office on this and answered some of the questions we had during that briefing. In general, the Dignity Party will always, of course, support measures that enable safer roads for South Australians. We should ensure, in particular, that injuries and disabilities caused and lives lost are reduced as much as possible—hopefully to zero—on our roads, particularly because young people are over-represented in motor vehicle accident and injury and death statistics. These are some tragedies that we certainly want to prevent.

While we support these measures in principle, we are also considering the amendments that have been tabled by both the Hon. Mr Darley and the Hon. Mr McLachlan, which look at encouraging drivers to go into diversionary programs as part of their treatment, following a positive test for drug driving. A query I have is: when will we have the capacity, with drug testing and data recording, to ascertain which drug is causing a positive test result in an accident that has caused an injury or fatality?

It would be useful if we could break down the numbers and have this information in relation to serious injuries and fatalities so that we can compare them to roadside drug tests which are positive; for example, due to cannabis (both THC and CBD), methamphetamine and ecstasy.

I would also like to raise once again my concern around drug testing and licence suspension of drivers who use medical cannabis for chronic pain, nausea, epilepsy and other conditions where their cannabis use may result in a positive test for drug driving, although it does not impair their ability to drive safely. The Dignity Party would very much like to see a regime introduced where doctors can sign off on a driver using medical cannabis for health reasons and therefore not fail the drug test if they have cannabis present in their system, so long as the cannabis is for medical use and can be medically proven not to impair their ability to drive safely.

With those few brief words and those questions that we would like answered by the minister, we will continue to consider the amendments before us but, at this stage, flag our broad support for the principles of the bill.