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Concerns over drug-driving as trucking industry worried by cannabis legalisation

The trucking industry is raising concerns about the move to legalise cannabis, claiming it'll mean more drugged drivers and accidents on our roads.

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They claim it will mean more drugged drivers and accidents on our roads. Source: 1 NEWS

Truckies spend so much time on the road that some even call the highways their office, but there's a real concern brewing among them that drivers may soon be less safe on the job.

The Road Users Forum says legalisation will mean more cannabis use and therefore more drug driving accidents.

“We’re worries about more people being on the road that are impaired and putting truck drivers at risk,” spokesperson Nick Leggett said.   

But referendum advocates disagree, working to dispel the assumption that more lives would be at risk.

“There is an assumption that legalisation adds to increased use and therefore increased harm but that isn’t out in reality,” the Drug Foundation’s Ross Bell said.

While the legal limits for drunk driving are clear, but one lawyer says setting roadside limits for drug driving is much harder.

“We don’t have the technology to specify those levels. We refer to it as impairment, just like wine.

We say one glass might be acceptable but at three you’re too impaired to drive legally. We just don’t know where it sits with cannabis,” barrister Marie Taylor-Cyphers said.

In Australia, saliva testing is now used which is adding to confidence it could be adopted here too.

“The Government has introduced draft law that will give police new powers and new technology,” Bell said.

Yet others say the current level of technology available isn’t up to the standard needed.

“The problem with that is that at the moment, the technology only measures detection. It can’t tell whether you took cannabis last night, six weeks ago or this morning,” Taylor-Cyphers said.

Until that is clarified, experts say the new proposed law can’t proceed. Event if cannabis reform was to win out next weekend.

The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll shows waning support for the bill, with those against now leading by 23 points.

Even if there is a turn around come election day, passing those laws could take months.