Friday, January 12, 2018

Police use road tragedy to mislead about drug driving

The sad news that life support is being switched off for Jessica Falkholt (fifth victim of the fatal Boxing Day head-on crash near Bendalong) comes also with the news that the other driver involved (who also died in the crash) had a string of road offences which included jail time, and he was driving home to Ulladulla from a methadone clinic in Nowra. This opens a whole can of worms. A police spokesman immediately launched into the usual spin, saying ob ABC radio that the main causes of crashes were "drugs, speed and fatigue". 
"Drugs" is a conflation Police always use because it politically supports their Roadside Drug testing campaign, which focuses on recreational drugs. It's reasonably sophisticated spin on their part, something their spokespeople have clearly been coached on. The conflation is misleading because it implies that Methadone caused this crash, but of course RDT does not test for Methadone, opioids or Benzos (Xanax etc). Yet these drugs along with alcohol cause far more accidents than cannabis, a primary target of RDT. 
The police never suggest that something should be done about drivers who are under the influence of these legal drugs – that's off limits even as the "War on Drugs" sticks to its well funded agenda. Result: Most of the preventative resources are poured into the least harmful drugs. 
So the Police are not focused on protecting people on the roads, rather prosecuting a political position that attracts major funding to their organisation. It's especially cynical and hypocritical when they exploit tragedies like this crash. Actual statistics about different drugs and crash rates can be seen below here and here: