FIGURES released by NSW Transport reveal the region's drug driving offences are level with the state average of 7.9 per cent.
The report showed 11 per cent of road fatalities involving motorists had at least one illicit drug (cannabis, speed or ecstasy in their system) in their system. There have been 14 drug related fatalities on Illawarra roads and 238 offences since 2010.
Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said the data collection was the first of its kind and marked an important step in tackling drug use while driving.
“The Illawarra’s total drug driving offence rate per 10,000 licence holders was the same as the State average – 7.9 per cent which is quite concerning," he said.
“We will be ramping up our fight to get this behaviour off our local roads to save the lives of innocent motorists by the illegal actions of drug drivers.
“This information is helping us understand critical factors about drug driving, including the fact that 40 per cent of drug driving offences and fatal crashes involved a drug driver that was under the age of 30."
For more information about the key factors affecting drug driving visit http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/downloads/drug-driving-f.pdf
“What we have learnt from our education and enforcement efforts combined with the factors we know now about drug driving will assist in informing our efforts to reduce this dangerous activity," Mr Ward said.
“The Police are also now using a new and improved drug testing machine, the Drager DrugTest 5000.
“The machine has more sensitive detection thresholds and will reduce the proportion of drivers who are screened as negative at the roadside.
“These devices are paid for directly from fines from mobile, red light and speed cameras, which also pay for other important safety initiatives.
“Every cent from mobile, red light and speed cameras goes into the Community Road Safety Fund, which then goes towards investing in improved safety for our community,” Mr Ward said.