Number of drug drivers caught on roads a concern for police
A NEW wave of mobile drug testing has taken Gympie drivers by surprise, with early cases in the Gympie Magistrates Court.
Just last week, there were 28 positive roadside drug samples out of 50 tests by the Roadside Drug Testing Unit.
On Thursday, the court was told of a string of offences from the Muster in August.
Gympie Magistrates Court was told of police action in the Mary Valley and at Southside and the Cooloola Coast.
Three of the drivers they caught pleaded guilty to drug-driving charges.
One Woody Point woman was apprehended as she approached the Gympie Muster site on August 30. Robyn Elizabeth Norfolk pleaded guilty to driving in Amamoor Creek Rd with methylamphetamine and the cannabis component Delta-9-tetrahydracannabinol in her saliva.
The court was told Norfolk, 43, a shop assistant of King St, was stopped for a random drug test about 11.50am on her way to the Muster.
Magistrate Maxine Baldwin, who had already spoken from the bench about the dangers of driving in an impaired state, observed: "Marijuana slows you down, amphetamines spark you up.
"I don't know what space your brain was in that day. Do you?"
She fined Norfolk $440 and disqualified her from driving for three months.
Two other now-convicted drug-drivers were Mooloo resident Lucas Borg and Craig Shane McKnight of Cooloola Cove.
Both pleaded guilty to driving with THC in their saliva, Borg on August 25 and McKnight on August 22.
Imposing a $330 fine on each of them, Mrs Baldwin disqualified Borg for two months and McKnight for one month.
She told Borg he should have stayed home.
"Marijuana is similar to alcohol in its effect on driving," she said.
"If you've got marijuana in your system, which is illegal anyway, you may as well be at home sleeping," she said.
McKnight told the court he had not intended to drive.
"Basically, I smoked some pot and one of my daughters was called in to work.
"I was pulled up after dropping her at work," he said.
"Marijuana is illegal anyway, but it doesn't mix with cars either," Mrs Baldwin told him.
Imbil police sergeant Terry Kennedy commented at the time on the results of police drink and drug driving operations at Muster time and over the previous weekend.
He said the Mary Valley results, indicating a surprisingly big haul of drug-drivers, mirrored results from the similar Gympie and Cooloola Coast operations the previous weekend.
He said the Mary Valley operation turned up only three drink drivers from 1500 random tests, but a much smaller number of drug tests showed five positive results.
The Cooloola Coast operation had netted three drink drivers and 11 drug drivers.
And that is not the end of the story, according to Gympie Road Policing Unit chief Peter Webster, who said half the drivers pulled up for drug tests at the end of November had tested positive.