Police extend long arm of law to tests

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph

The recent changes to increase the power of WA Police at the scene of fatal and serious crashes has been welcomed by the Road Safety Commission and local police.

Under the Road Traffic Legislation Amendment Act, WA Police will now have the power to require compulsory blood and urine tests from drivers involved in an accident resulting in serious injury or death.

The time limit for taking blood or urine samples has also been extended from four to 12 hours.

South Hedland police Senior Sergeant Dean Snashall said extending the time limit by eight hours was a step in the right direction and beneficial for officers attending scenes in regional and remote areas.

“If we were to have a serious crash out in Pardoo, for instance, it would take longer than four hours,” he said, adding, “this gives police an extra eight hours”.

Road Safety Commissioner Kim Papalia said the amendments were crucial for WA Police to fully investigate serious crashes.

“In the past, only medical practitioners or registered nurses were permitted to take blood or urine samples from drivers or suspected drivers in fatal or serious injury crashes,” he said.

“However, these crash blood provisions will also allow WA Police and a wider range of prescribed people to obtain that crucial evidence at the scene.”

The Road Traffic Legislation Amendment Act 2016 will enable WA Police to require compulsory blood and/or urine tests from drivers or suspected drivers involved in an accident which results in death or serious injury.

The provisions were scheduled to start on March 10.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails