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The Government needs to act and introduce compulsory roadside drug testing or there will be more tragedies like what occurred on State Highway Three last June, Whanganui MP Harete Hipango says.

“The coroner’s inquest into the accident near Waverly began last Friday and revealed that the driver at fault had repeatedly consumed synthetic cannabis prior to driving.

“The current law and enforcement for drug-impaired driving is ineffective and weak, in 2017 it caused 79 deaths compared to 70 caused by drunk driving, yet there was only 200 convictions for drug-impaired driving compared to more than 16,000 for drunk driving.

“I am supporting the petition of Karen Dow that seeks the urgent introduction of random saliva testing for drug impairment.

“Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott drafted a Members Bill to achieve this but it was voted down last October by Labour, the Greens and NZ First, with Green Party Members describing it as ‘too intrusive’.

“It has also been revealed that Ministers have been sitting on proposals from Police and Transport officials for road-side drug testing for 17 months, before both these devastating tragedies occurred.

“National want a proper roadside drug testing regime in place as soon as possible, and these changes need to be made before the Government attempt to liberalise access to drugs.”

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