The use of roadside breath testing has long been a feature of the law enforcement response to drink driving. However, it is only since 2004 and only in some states that roadside testing has been extended to include the detection of drugs other than alcohol. Based on self-reported rates from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, in 2007 it was estimated that 12 percent of Australians aged 14 years or over had driven a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and three percent had driven while under the influence of illegal drugs in the past 12 months (AIHW 2008). Compared with the general population, a higher proportion of police detainees self-report alcohol and other drug driving (Adams, Smith & Hind 2008). Based on Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) data from 2005 and 2006, it was estimated that approximately 24 percent of police detainees had driven while under the influence of alcohol and 38 percent had driven while under the influence of other drugs in the past 12 months. Combined, the total prevalence of drug and/or drink driving among all police detainees was 46 percent. Drink driving was highest among younger detainees aged 18-20 years, whereas drug driving was more often reported among those aged between 21 and 35 years. The overall prevalence of drug and/or drink driving was highest among the 21-25 year age group.
Prevalence of alcohol and other drug driving among police detainees in the past 12 months, by age (percentage)
Source: AIC, DUMA collection 2005-06 [computer file]
Note: Prevalence estimates are for all detainees (n=1,714), including those who had not driven in the past 12 months.
- Adams K, Smith L & Hind N 2008. Drug driving among police detainees in Australia. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 357
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2008. 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: first results. Canberra: AIHW