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Drugs and alcohol basically have the same effects on your system whenever you drive.

These fatal two impair your concentration making it difficult for you to focus on your driving and the road. You might experience hallucinations, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness or worse, you could faint behind the wheel. The danger caused by drug and drink driving has resulted to the Queensland government beefing up its traffic law enforcement.

Drink Driving

In Queensland there are four alcohol limits imposed on its drivers. Learner, provisional and probationary license holders must have zero alcohol in their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when driving. Other license holders are allowed a BAC of below 0.05 but beyond that they will be charged for drink driving. The penalties that will be imposed on the driver will depend on his BAC level and traffic offending history. Usually only the minimum penalties will be imposed on a first time offender.

Alcohol takes some time to wear off. It even happens that a person will be found to have a high BAC level on the morning after a night of drinking. Alcohol affects each person differently but you must remember that the BAC rises as soon as you take that first drink.

Penalties for a first drink driving offence

The following table shows the maximum penalties that may apply for a first time drink driving offence:

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)

Maximum licence disqualification

Maximum fine amount

Maximum term of imprisonment

Over 0.00, but under 0.05 BAC (learner, probationary or provisional licences, and drivers of particular motor vehicles)

9 months

$1,593.90

3 months

0.05 and over, but under 0.10

9 months

$1,593.90

3 months

0.10 and over, but under 0.15

12 months

$2,227.00

6 months

0.15 and over

Magistrate's decision (minimum of 6 months)

$3,187.80

9 months

Drug Driving

A driver can be pulled over by the police for a random drug test or by mere suspicion that the driver is driving under the influence of the drugs. The procedure is conducted by asking the driver to provide a saliva sample. It will only take 3 to 5 minutes to get the results.

Drivers whose results show negative are allowed to go but for those who tested positive they must take a second test.  If the second test still shows a positive result the sample will be brought to a laboratory to determine whether the saliva contains cannabis, speed and ice, or ecstasy and in what quantities.

The immediate penalty for a positive drug test is the suspension of the driver’s license. The case will then be brought to court for filing of charges. The penalties that may be imposed for a first time drug driving offence are imprisonment for 9 months, fine of up to $3080 and 6 months disqualification from driving.

As a matter of information, it is not only illegal drugs that have the potential of causing hazardous effects during driving. Of course a driver can only be prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs if he tested positive for illegal drugs. However, it should be emphasized that prescription or over the counter medicine can also affect one’s driving capability. As a matter of precaution, a driver should not drive after taking his medication.

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