HALT Services is an approved Ministry of Health Assessment Centre for the purpose of sections 65 and 100 of the Land Transport Act 1998. We will assess and support you through the process of regaining your licence.
In order to promote safety on the road New Zealand Transport Agency (ex Land Transport NZ) has a set of guidelines for those who have lost their licence because of drunk driving. Overall the road safety risks of alcohol and other drugs include:
- impairment due to sedation effects
- impaired motor function
- exacerbation of other medically related risks
Obviously the more alcohol you drink the greater the impairment.
First step is to contact us anytime during your disqualification period. The best time to do this is approximately three months before your disqualification period is due to end. An appointment will be made and an alcohol and drug assessment carried out. If you were indefinitely disqualified for repeat driving offences involving drugs or alcohol (ie under section 65 of the Land Transport Act 1998 or section 30A of the Transport Act 1962), you’ll have to prove that you’ve dealt with your drug or alcohol problem before you can apply to have your disqualification ended.
The initial appointment will take approximately one-and-a-half hours. The assessor will also expect you to provide contact details of at least one person who knows you well and can corroborate your current drinking and or drug use and any other relevant information.
This will be followed by Liver Function Tests, these are laboratory tests used to screen for possible liver damage which may be caused by alcohol abuse. A urine drug screen may also be required. Once the laboratory test has been received an appointment must be made with a resgistered medical practitioner. They will do a brief medical examination and review your tests.
Finally you must write a letter to NZTA outlining what steps you have taken to address your offending and your understanding of the risks you pose to the safety of other road users.
The final step is for all the relevant material to be sent to NZTA. They will be guided by our assessor but ultimately the decision for removal of disqualification rests with them. They will write to you with their decision.
You cannot legally drive until this process is completed and you must sit and pass the required driver licence tests. If you wish you can call the NZTA on 0800 822 422 or visit www.nzta.govt.nz for more information on this process and to check the end date of your disqualification.
How other drugs affect your driving
If you think drug-taking has little, or even a positive, impact on your driving you could be tragically mistaken. It’s important to bear in mind that it can be hard to determine exactly how a drug will affect your driving ability – impairment caused by drugs can vary according to the individual, drug type, dosage, the length of time the drugs stays in your body, or if the drug has been taken with other drugs or alcohol.
Some people think that cannabis is a ‘safer substitute’ to drinking, but it can cause concentration to wander, which can affect reaction times. It can also cause paranoia, drowsiness, distorted perception and a sense of disorientation – all of which could cause you to lose control at the wheel.
This is a psycho-stimulant that can lead to misjudging driving speed and stopping distances. It can also cause a distorted sense of light and sound and a feeling of overconfidence, which can lead to aggressive and erratic driving. While it can make you feel alert at first, the effects wear off quickly, leading to an increased danger of falling asleep at the wheel.
A stimulant drug with hallucinogenic properties, ecstasy can distort your sense of vision and heighten sense of sound. Your concentration can be affected, while you may become over-confident and more likely to take dangerous risks.
Ketamine, LSD and Magic Mushrooms:
Drugs such as these with hallucinogenic properties can strongly influence the senses, so drivers may react to objects or sounds that aren’t there, and place themselves and other road users in danger. Coordination skills are likely to be greatly affected, and you may experience anxiety, blurred vision and a sense of detachment from reality – all of which could be deadly on the road.
Speed, Methamphetamine (“P”)
While amphetamines might give you a sense of heightened alertness and confidence, they can be highly dangerous for drivers as they distort your perceptions and can make you feel anxious, prone to panic attacks and lose coordination.
Antihistmamines(often used in flu and hayfever remedies) and tranquillisers (used to treat anxiety, depression and sleeping disorders) may significantly affect reaction times and cause drowsiness. If the label advises against ‘operating heavy machinery’, consider it a warning not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. If in doubt, consult your doctor.
Drug Driver testing under the new Land Transport Amendment Act
The Land Transport Amendment Act 2009 (LTAA), which came into force on 1 November 2009, allows Police to better detect drug drivers and charge them with the offence of ‘driving while impaired and with blood that contains evidence of use of a controlled drug or prescription medicine’.
Drug driving is considered as serious an offence as drink driving, and carries the same penalties.