This report by Lawlink aims to investigate: 1) penalties for drug driving; 2) risk of reconviction among drug drivers; and 3) how penalties and reconviction risk vary according to offender characteristics.
In 2010, 14.7 per cent of Australians aged 14 years or older reported using an illicit drug in the previous 12 months. Of these recent users, 18 per cent reported driving while under the influence of an illicit drug. The population prevalence of drug driving is therefore about 3 per cent (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 2011).
While this prevalence might appear to be quite low, it is much higher among some groups of drivers. Men are more likely to report drug driving (21.5% of past-year male users reported drug driving over that period versus 13.2% of female recent users, AIHW, 2011), as are young drug users (Jones, Freeman, & Weatherburn, 2003) and injecting drug users (Darke, Kelly, & Ross, 2004). Darke et al. (2004), for example, found that nine in ten injecting drug users who were current drivers reported driving under the influence of drugs in the preceding 12 months.