5. Increase roadside drug testing significantly in all states and territories



States and territories

Local government

Austroads, Police, NTC

Links to other Actions



Australia has a longer history of testing of drivers for illicit drugs than other countries. Roadside drug testing is now well established, though still conducted at much lower levels than random breath testing for alcohol. In contrast to alcohol testing, the positive test rate for drugs has been increasing strongly in the past few years, indicating that further benefits can be achieved from higher testing rates. There are a number of issues to be resolved including the cost of drug testing and the time taken at the roadside.

Outcomes by 2020

Reduce trauma from drug driving through increasing levels of roadside drug testing across Australia, with individual jurisdictions aiming for a 50 to 100% increase, where commensurate increases have not already been applied in recent years.


  • A national working group to progress coordinated efforts to mitigate drug driving has been established and will report to the Transport and Infrastructure Council in November 2018.
  • Improve the efficiency of drug testing processes without reducing the overall profile of random breath testing for alcohol.
  • Work with industry to improve current testing technology to reduce time taken at the roadside and to reduce the cost of testing kits, as well as to explore new and emerging testing technology and develop products better suited to Australian jurisdictions' needs and conditions.
  • Improve the understanding of the relationship of general and targeted testing to achieving deterrence, as well as the role of community awareness.
  • Develop a national approach to roadside drug testing, recognising police operational and resourcing differences.
  • Review current heavy vehicle drug testing practices and identify opportunities for improvement.