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The Major Road Rule Changes You Need To Know To Avoid Fines

A new crackdown has caused major changes to drug-driving rules and will enforce that all drugs, including prescription medication and drugs that haven’t even been invented yet, be automatically covered in testing.

This new campaign will focus on not just the medications and drugs that a motorist takes but how it affects their driving so that they can be charged with driving under the influence accordingly.

The campaign will be launched to create awareness around the risks of driving after taking medications including but not limited to cold and flu tablets, painkillers containing codeine and other prescription medications that can cause drowsiness and other impairing side affects.

GPs and pharmacists will also be provided with training to help identify those who may be at risk of being affected by specific medications, making them a risk on the road.

“This is about reminding people that drugs can affect people differently and to have a little bit of common sense and be aware of the impact it might be having o you,” said Roads Minister Melinda Pavey to 9NEWS.

The new road rules were suggested after a study into the impact of prescription medications in the Boxing Day crash last year that killed Australian actress Jessica Falkholt, her sister and her parents. It was found that the driver in this case was on his way home from a methadone clinic.

Mobile drug testing, which typically occurs during a roadside breath test for alcohol, can currently identify if a driver has taken cannabis and other illicit drugs including cocaine and methamphetamines. It is only if police believe that a person has been affected by some other type of medication that they can be arrested and taken for a blood test to prove that they’re under the influence of prescription medication.

This new crackdown will se Mobile Drug Testing ramped up significantly. Last year 112,000 tests were conducted with one in 12 found to be positive. Chief Inspector Phil Brooks from NSW Police Traffic and Highway patrol has warned that by 2020 there will be 200,000 tests performed.

“So police right through NSW - they’ve all been trained. They’ve got significant resources. They can do a mobile drug test roadside at any time,” said Chief Insp. Brooks to 9NEWS.

The new laws are set to come into play in September and are also being extending to mobile phone use. The demerit points applied for an offence has now jumped from four to five, meaning that during double demerit periods a person on their phone while driving could be facing a loss of 10 points.

“Unfortunately, it’s become second nature for many road users to be on their mobile phones,” said Chief Insp. Brooks.

“All too often, police will turn up to a crash that’s nose to tail and that will be courtesy of someone using their mobile phone. Sadly, we have seen instances where we believe mobile phone. Sadly, we have seen instances where we believe mobile phone use has led to a serious injury or a fatal crash on our roads.”

This will now make NSW the strictest state in the country for mobile phone use while driving.

In NSW, a mobile phone can be operated for calls, music or navigation as long as the driver is not touching any part of the device or the phone is held in a cradle. Holding a phone to text or make a call while driving is illegal. 

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