DAB seeks random drug-drive tests

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 June, 2010, 12:00am

Police should be empowered to perform random drug tests on drivers, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong suggested yesterday. They said there were six times the number of prosecutions for drug-driving in the first five months of this year compared with the whole of last year.

More than 30 DAB and Civil Force members demonstrated for stricter legislation and prosecutions for driving under the influence of drugs, as Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen took part in a prize-giving at a dragon boat race in Sha Tin.

Protest organiser Stanely Li Sai-wing of the DAB said that, according to the government, there were 29 prosecutions for drug-driving in the first five months of the year, compared with five in 2009.

The protesters said drug-driving was a growing problem because it was difficult for police to test drivers unless there was evidence such as drugs in the vehicle. 'It will be too late if police have to wait until a driver shows signs of taking drugs, such as driving erratically,' Li said. 'Police should be given power to ask drivers to take drug tests randomly. This would be the most effective deterrent to stamp out drug-driving.'

He suggested the authorities look to a series of psychophysical tests used overseas on individuals before a decision is made to enforce a full drug test. These include asking a suspect to stand on one leg, and checks on eye movement and body balance.

Early this month, the Transport Department said it might charge drivers found to have abused drugs regardless of whether their driving was impaired.

Last month, a taxi driver whose passenger leaped from his moving vehicle because of his ketamine-induced erratic driving was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for two years.