Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

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Drug driving in NSW: Where are offenders being caught?

In NSW it is illegal to operate a vehicle with illicit drugs present in the driver's saliva, urine or blood.[1] NSW Police have made a commitment to increase the number of random roadside tests to detect drug driving to 97,000 by 2017[2].  In order to meet this target NSW Police have been increasing the number of roadside drug driving tests and, correspondingly, increasing their detections. 

NSW Police had conducted 31,617 random drug tests between January  and  July 2015, and were expecting to complete 55,000 by the end of the year. Of the ones completed at that time, 2,455 tests had returned a positive result, or one in every 13 tests.2  

In 2015, the NSW Police Force commenced legal action against 8,253 people  for driving with an illicit drug present in their system.  This is an increase of 252%, up from 2,347 in 2014.

Of the 8,253 persons proceeded against by police in 2015, 92% of people were charged with their first drug driving offence while 8.5% of people were charged with a second or subsequent offence.

The map below shows the total number of offenders proceeded against for drug driving in 2015 by the Local Government Area where the offence was detected. This offence is largely detected during targeted police operations.  The map shows that there is considerable regional variation in the detection of drug driving; this is likely due, at least in part, to different enforcement practices.  The areas with the highest detections were: Richmond-Tweed, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Newcastle and parts of western Sydney.

​Click this icon in top left corner of the map to show legend

Download a pdf version of the map 

[1] Drug driving legislation contained in Section 111 of the Road Transport Act 2013, previously section 11 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999.

[2] https://www.facebook.com/nswpoliceforce/posts/10153194097536185