Helping tackle the drug issue on our roads

Compliance, health and safety have come a long way in the past two decades, but the issue of drug use on our roads is still rife. 

And while it’s the minority – not the majority – of truck drivers doing the wrong thing and getting behind the wheel while under the influence, we continue to hear of the drug-fuelled incidents with tragic consequences. 

A horrific crash in Victoria that claimed the lives of four highway patrol police constables in April 2020 leading to millions of dollars in fines is a case in point. The truck driver responsible was a prolific ice user. Last year, another case arose when a logistics company was forced to pay over $500,000 to a fallen trucker’s family after another ice-fuelled accident. An unfortunate event that insurance policies will not cover if in course of drug use, leaving transport companies completely left in the dark to wear the costs of damages and hefty fines!

For the hardworking truck driver, meeting deadlines with short turnarounds on tight schedules are common within our competitive industry. Stories of drivers using crystal methamphetamine (ice) to stay awake and fight fatigue during long-haul shifts are still occurring.

Meth Alarms Queensland director Jonico Hardwick.

According to Traffic and Highway Patrol Command’s assistant commissioner John Hartley, a significant number of truck drivers on some of Australia’s busiest roads have returned positive readings for methamphetamine – the most common type ‘Ice’. A whopping statistic in Victoria revealed over 156 truck drivers returned positive readings in 2018, with reports some were using their logbooks to roll out lines and smoke ice.

It would be naive to assume that monthly mandatory random drug and alcohol testing is enough to solve the problem. However, a new device goes a step further.

Meth Alarms Queensland has produced the World’s First Patented Methamphetamine (Ice) Alarm designed to send an instantaneous text message to a nominated mobile number upon detection of Methamphetamine in real-time. 

With eight years of clinical research and development, the alarm has been ESR (federal drug lab) tested and approved with real methamphetamine and has approved accreditation from Telarc ISO9001 International Quality Standards. 

Its features include an anti-tampering software that also sends alerts to management when moved, covered or tampered with. 

The alarm is small enough to fit in a pocket and can be installed within five minutes in the truck cabin. 

“In terms of Crystal Meth used from the pipe, the aftermath leaves behind a permanent, odourless and invisible toxic residue that contaminates all surrounding surfaces including interior linings, ceilings, seat covers and even the air-conditioning systems. A process that may require remediation which can cost thousands,” said Meth Alarms Queensland director Jonico Hardwick.

“This issue is what we call ‘meth contamination’. In many cases, a new truck driver performing a long-haul shift may return a positive test result to Methamphetamine without even using the drug – all due to the exposure of this contamination.” 

Further investigations have revealed that such positive readings are the result of meth residue located within the cabin left behind from a previous occupant. These issues can lead to legal liabilities for unfair employment dismissal and failing to comply with Australian Meth Contamination standards. 

“In terms of the detection sensitivity of our methamphetamine alarm, a case study in New Zealand revealed a trucking employee had smoked Ice at home 45 minutes before his shift – the meth residue contaminating his clothes had then triggered the alarm upon entering the vehicle. A further investigation resulted in a confession that the drug was used to fight driving fatigue during interstate travels,” said Hardwick.

Installing such a device will eradicate meth use within the industry to ensure the safety of not only the employees and the community – but also the transport and logistics companies across Australia.

For more information on Meth Alarms, contact Jonico Hardwick on 07 3067 3303 or jonico@methalarms.com.au, or visit the website at methalarms.com.au.

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