Random drug testing in Australia, analogies with RBT, and likely effects with increased intensity levels

This paper aims to develop an analogy between random drug testing (RDT) and the early years of random breath testing (RBT) in Australia when intensity levels were low. This analogy is used to predict the likely effects on drug driving among killed drivers as the number of random drug tests is increased. Relationships between the annual number of RDTs conducted in Victoria during 2005 to 2009 and the percentage of killed drivers with drugs in their blood stream (either a proscribed drug [THC, MA or MDMA] or any impairing drug) were able to be calibrated. The calibrated relationships were then used in conjunction with an estimate of the cost per random drug test to determine the cost-effectiveness of RDT. Diminishing-returns type relationships were found between the annual number of RDTs and the presence of impairing drugs in killed drivers. Although the roadside oral fluid test (ROFT) equipment and associated Police testing time is currently expensive per test, the calibrated relationships suggested that current RDT rates per licensed driver could be increased to at least 10 per cent per year before cost-effectiveness is in doubt. RDT has the potential to achieve significant general deterrence of drug-driving in a similar way as that achieved by best-practice RBT. While RDT is highly cost-effective at the modest levels of intensity that it is currently operated at in Australia, the analogy with RBT developed in this paper suggests that it will remain cost-effective if testing rates per licensed driver are increased up to 10 per cent of drivers per year. However, to remain cost-effective at even higher testing rates per year, the cost per random drug test must be substantially decreased.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 152-9
  • Monograph Title: 20th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conference Proceedings, 25-28 August 2013, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01495653
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 17 2013 10:11AM