MORE than half of Australian drivers who smoke cannabis
or take methamphetamines say they have got behind the
wheel of a car within three hours of drug use, a survey
The Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) and Turning Point (TP)
alcohol and drug centre today announced the findings of
their study into the drug-driving habits of Australian
The anonymous online survey of 6801 Australians
questioning drivers about their attitudes toward and
experiences of drugs and driving was undertaken over
The survey also found users of illicit and
pharmaceutical drugs were more likely to drive after
taking drugs than those who drank alcohol.
Fifty-three per cent of Australian drivers who smoked
cannabis and 52 per cent who used methamphetamines
reported driving within three hours of drug use.
More than 37.5 per cent of respondents who took ecstasy
and 30.3 per cent of respondents who used
benzodiazepines, which are minor tranquilisers, said
they also drove within three hours using a drug.
This compares to 13.8 per cent of Australians who had
consumed alcohol and then drove with a blood-alcohol
content (BAC) greater than .05.
ADF researcher Jane Mallick said men were more likely to
drive after using drugs and alcohol than women.
"Of alcohol users, for example, men were almost twice as
likely as women to get behind the wheel after drinking,
with 18.6 per cent having driven with a BAC of more than
.05, compared to 10.8 per cent of women,'' Dr Mallick
"When it came to cannabis use, 61.8 per cent of male
respondents who used the drug admitted driving within
three hours, compared to 41.5 per cent of women."
Dr Mallick said many illicit and pharmaceutical drug
users were ignorant when it came to understanding the
impact that those substances could have on their driving
"More than two-thirds of respondents knew a little or
nothing about the impact of illicit drugs on
driving,'' she said.
"Overwhelmingly, respondents had little idea about how
long to wait between the use of drugs other than alcohol
Dr Mallick said there was a need to provide widespread,
targeted education and information to drug users.
"Information and education initiatives need to focus on
the impairment to driving ability for all forms of drug
use, including illicit and pharmaceutical drugs and we
must not forget alcohol,'' she said.