Big increase in drug driving charges

Full report: Recent Trends in Arrests for Drug Driving (pdf 495Kb)

Release date: 10.30am Tuesday, 30 May 2017

New research by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has found that the number of people facing charges of drug driving more than tripled in the 24 months to June 2016.

In the financial year 2014/15, 2,331 drug driving charges were finalised in the NSW Local Court. In the 2015/16 financial year, that number rose to 9,808, an increase of 320 per cent.

The overwhelming majority of persons found guilty of drug driving offences were males (79.3%) and persons aged between 18 and 39 years (72.4%).

Surprisingly, the rate of prosecution was two times higher in Regional NSW than the state average (180 per 100,000 compared to 93 per 100,000). Particularly high rates of drug driving were found in the Richmond Tweed area, where the conviction rate for drug driving is more than five times the State rate.

Almost all drug driving charges brought to court are proven. The most common penalties imposed are fines and Section 10 bonds (i.e. no conviction recorded), however approximately 80 per cent of persons found guilty also received a period of mandatory licence disqualification in addition to their principal penalty.

The growth in license disqualification has led to a surge in people being convicted driving while disqualified.

The number of offenders previously found guilty of drug driving and later being found guilty of driving while disqualified more than tripled (from 133 to 542) in the 12 months to June 2016 compared with the 12 months to June 2015.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 8346 1100

Copies of the report: