Police have a warning for drink and drug drivers – RBTs are back.
Roadside drug and alcohol testing operations were suspended nationally during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
And while officers still managed to catch offenders during that period through mobile patrols, last week saw the revival of RBTs in Launceston.
But the operations won’t quite be the same.
Despite no active cases of COVID-19 in the state, Acting Inspector Nathan Johnston said Tasmania Police had put measures in place to keep both members of the public and police officers protected during the testing process.
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The new protocols will see police wearing masks, two sets of gloves, and cleaning the devices in between each test.
While the new measures were about mitigating risk, Acting Inspector Johnston said the changes would make the process a little slower, and urged drivers to be patient.
“What we have done is put a number of extra steps in place, in between each random breath test,” he said.
“It involves removing gloves, cleaning down instruments, and other practices. And when the driver is doing the test they will face a certain way, rather than towards our members, when they are blowing air into the device.
“As we know with COVID it can make things take a little longer, so if drivers can be patient and understand that we are doing the best we can, and we will get everyone through as quickly as possible.”
Since last week, police in the North have completed three roadside breath testing operations, with no drink or drug drivers charged.
The relaunch of RBTs comes as police continue to urge drivers to take care, with three lives lost on the state’s roads on Saturday.
The two crashes brought the state’s road toll to 27, compared to 21 this time last year.
Acting Inspector Johnston said high-visibility RBT sites were an “important part of road safety practices”.
“Our traffic enforcement activities are aimed at improving behaviours of road users, we need Tasmanians to take road safety seriously and remember it’s not just their lives on the line,” he said.
“By taking road safety seriously, Tasmanians can help us ensure there are not families left mourning loved ones, like what happened on the weekend. So please slow down, wear your seatbelt, don’t drive while distracted or under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
“We will continue to patrol roads, including rural roads, with a high-visibility presence.”