Editorial: Shaming drivers will continue

By Andrew Austin

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The fact that some people in Hawke's Bay do not think there is anything wrong with driving while under the influence of drugs is a worry.

You would think that any half-intelligent person would realise that taking drugs would affect your ability to drive.

Roadsafe in Hawke's Bay is concerned that drugged-driving is an emerging trend. Roadsafe spokeswoman Linda Anderson said surveys they had done with young people showed there was a misconception that it was safe to drive after taking drugs rather than driving drunk. This is crazy and it is almost unbelievable that anyone would think that.

But clearly they do. Anti-drugged-driving legislation came into effect in November 2009 and since then 583 people, including 22 from Hawke's Bay, have been charged with the offence. These, of course, are only those who have been caught driving in a drugged state. The number of people actually doing it is probably much greater.

That is the worrying thing for the rest of us. We already have to be aware that there are many people who drink alcohol and drive, but we also have to worry about drugged people.

The only way to get drugged people off the roads is to target them like drink-drivers are targeted. Each month this newspaper publishes a list of people caught drink-driving in the region. Often there are people on those lists who have been done for drugged driving. Often this can be quite a long list and it often features people from all walks of life. We have had people try to get us to take their name off the list, but we don't make any exceptions.

We see it as a service to the community to name and shame people who decide to endanger other lives by getting behind the wheel of a car drunk or drugged.

It is the only way to get people to change their habits. If society makes it quite clear that drugged driving is as bad as drink-driving, hopefully offenders will get the message.

The sooner people learn the better. Lives are at stake.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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