Drink, drug drivers caught during major traffic operation in Launceston's northern suburbs

Drink and drug drivers were targeted during a major traffic operation.

Thousands of drivers were pulled over at multiple sites across Launceston’s northern suburbs on Wednesday, with police searching cars and testing for cannabis, methamphetamine, opioids and other illicit substances.

Drivers were also greeted by drug detection dog Fang at the first RBT site on Lilydale Road at Rocherlea.

Within the first three hours, eight out of 19 drivers given oral fluid tests were found to have drugs in their system and a number of people were charged with minor drug offences.

One driver was also found with ammunition in his car as well as a smoking device. 

ON THE JOB: Drug detection dog Fang working at the Rocherlea RBT site on Wednesday. Picture: Scott Gelston

ON THE JOB: Drug detection dog Fang working at the Rocherlea RBT site on Wednesday. Picture: Scott Gelston

Police at a second RBT site on Vermont Road at Mowbray nabbed drink-drivers and sent them over to the Lilydale Road site where a nurse was administering blood tests.

A number of drivers were forced to park their cars on the side of Vermont Road when they were caught behind the wheel of an unregistered car and driving unlicensed.

One driver was caught above the legal alcohol limit and six people received infringement notices for traffic offences.

Twenty-five officers from the Northern Road and Public Order Services, Launceston uniform and the drug squad were involved in the operation, which ran from 10am until about 3pm. 

By the end of the day, 2542 drivers had been tested.

After the RBT sites packed up, drug dog Fang was taken into the Brisbane Street Mall for foot patrol duty.

Senior Sergeant Nick Clark said drugs and alcohol continued to be “significant contributing factors in road crashes”.

“It’s pleasing that the majority of drivers continue to do the right thing on our roads, but there’s always a small number of drivers who continue to put their lives and the lives of others at risk,” he said.

“Over the past 10 years, drugs and alcohol have been a contributing factor, on average, in 25 per cent of serious and fatal injury crashes.

“There has been a reduction in the percentage of crashes where alcohol was a factor over that time, but drugs have remained relatively constant and Tasmania Police is continuing to target drug driving as part of our enforcement operations.”

The traffic operation comes less than a fortnight after Tasmania Police’s major Easter road safety campaign – Operation Crossroads.

Senior Sergeant Clark said it was a reminder to road users that police could be “anywhere at anytime”.

“We will continue to conduct these operations, there will be more later this week in the Launceston area and across the Northern district,” he said. 

“So if you take the chance of driving with an illicit drug in your system or driving when you’ve been drinking, we will be out there pulling up motorists and we will be catching you.”