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What is mobile drug testing?

Drugs, driving and the law

It is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol or any illicit drug.

What is mobile drug testing?

Mobile drug testing (MDT) detects drivers who have recently used three common illegal drugs: ecstasy, cannabis and speed. Mobile drug testing can be conducted at NSW Police roadside operations or by police in vehicles patrolling the roads. Mobile drug testing operates alongside random breath testing for alcohol and police also have the power to test drivers they believe may be under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs.

How do they test?

The roadside tests involve a saliva test using drug screening equipment. If the initial saliva test indicates positive, then the driver must undertake a second saliva swab at a mobile drug bus or police station.

The second sample is sent to the laboratory for analysis, whether it is positive or negative. But if the second swab shows positive, the police issue the driver with a direction not to drive for 24 hours. If the laboratory analysis confirms the presence of THC, methamphetamine or ecstasy, the driver is issued with a court attendance notice for the offence. It is the analysis by the laboratory, not the roadside test results, which the police rely on as evidence in court.

It is also an offence to drive with morphine or cocaine present, but these substances will not be detected by saliva swab.

Video: NSW Police - Mobile drug testing

Read more about roadside drug testing.

How do drugs affect driving? 

Even in small doses, drugs can affect driving skills. Taking illegal drugs before driving makes you a danger to yourself, your passengers and others on the road. 

Find out more about how drugs and driving from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.