WEIGHING IN: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin says advice on drug driving provided on the CRS website needs to be looked at.
WEIGHING IN: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin says advice on drug driving provided on the CRS website needs to be looked at. contributed

Govt drug driving advice 'needs to be looked at': Saffin

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has weighed in on the NSW Government's drug-driving advice which was used to successfully defend a Rapville man's drug driving charge.

The suggestion that cannabis "can typically be detected in saliva by an MDT test stick for up to 12 hours after use”, as stated on the CRS website, saw a prosecution case before Lismore Local Court become unstuck.

Rappville man Robert Nicholas Ambros Collier, 34, was stopped for a roadside drug test on Nimbin Rd at Goolmangar about 12 noon on May 5 last year.

He'd smoked cannabis some 43 hours earlier and accepted the 12-hour window suggested by the CRS as accurate and reliable.

This advice was used in his successful defence of mistaken fact and he was found not guilty of driving with an illicit drug in his system.

When Magistrate David Heilpern gave his judgment on Wednesday, he said the government's advice was "neither fair nor accurate.”

He called on the CRS to amend its advice to the public, stressing medicinal cannabis laws and the compounding hardships associated with a loss of licence in regional communities could tend to worsen penalties for those with a minute amount of the drug in their system.

While State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said she was not in the habit of commenting on the judiciary's decisions, she would take under consideration, policy issues which may arise from those decisions.

"The matter of the information on the website clearly needs to be looked at,” she said.

Earlier this week, the Centre for Road Safety responded to calls by a Lismore magistrate to alter drug-driving advice given to the public.

In a statement, the CRS said general information on its website was "based on the test devices used for roadside screening in NSW” and had been "verified with an expert pharmacologist”.

They said the information was "not legal advice” and "provides an indication to drivers that drugs can stay in their system for a significant period”.

"No previous request to review the website has been received from Courts,” they said.

"There are no current plans to change the approach to drug driving enforcement in NSW.”