Things are all backward down under in Austrlia. The toilets flush the other way, baby animals hang out inside their mothers after they’re born, and you get arrested for stoned driving when you’re not even stoned.
A study has found that the roadside drug testing devices used by the Australian 5-0 have a staggering error rate. Worse yet, the government is pushing to double the use of these untrusty devices on Australian roads.
Researchers at the University of Sydney, tested the accuracy of the Securetec DrugWipe and the Draeger DrugTest 5000. Both gadgets are employed to test the saliva of drivers for inebriating levels of narcotics, and are “widely used by police in Australia,” according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which reported the story.
One small problem, though, is that a significant amount of their results are wrong. The study found that that the Securetec drew false positives 5% of the time and false negatives 9% of the time. The Draeger fared even worse, with a false positive rate of 10% and a false negative rate of 16%.
“What we found was that these test results often came back positive when they should have been negative, or conversely that they came back negative when they should have actually been positive,” said Thomas Arkell, a PhD student at the University of Sydney.
Roadside drug tests were introduced to Australia in 2004 and are currently conducted in each of the country’s states and territories.
Despite the high error rate, multiple states in Australia are gunning to increase the number of roadside drug tests. New South Wales intends to conduct at least 200,000 roadside tests next year and Victoria reportedly plans to test at least 400,000 drivers in the next two years. Photo via Flickr user FotoSleuth