Centre for Road Safety

Our Mobile Drug Testing (MDT) TV advertisement warns drivers that NSW Police can test them for drugs anytime or anywhere, there's no escaping it. Read a transcript.


Drug driving behaviour and enforcement

Taking illegal drugs before driving puts you at risk of injuring or killing yourself, your friends or other innocent people. Our research shows that the presence of illegal drugs is involved in more fatal crashes than drink driving.

We also know that 30 per cent of the drug users involved in our research admitted to driving with an illegal drug in their system. Education combined with enforcement is the most effective way to tackle this kind of road safety problem.

Mobile drug testing (MDT) detects drivers who have recently used four common illegal drugs: ecstasy, cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine (including speed and ice). MDT can be conducted at NSW Police roadside operations or by police in vehicles patrolling our roads.

MDT operates alongside RBT for alcohol and police also have the power to test drivers they believe may be under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs. Together, these enforcement measures deter drivers who have used drugs or alcohol from getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.

Watch the shorter version of our MDT TV advertisement or read a transcript.


Although MDT affects all drivers who may be stopped by police, there is a greater prevalence of drug driving among certain driver categories:

  • The primary audience is male drivers aged 17-49 years who use illegal drugs. This age group makes up the majority of drivers involved in fatal crashes with an illegal drug in their system, and drug driving offenders.
  • Younger male drivers in particular (17-29 years) are significantly overrepresented in drug driving fatal crashes, have high rates of self-reported drug driving, and are more likely to combine illegal drugs and alcohol
  • The other audience is females who use illegal drugs. They also admit to drug driving but do so less often and are less likely to be involved in fatal crashes with illegal drugs in their system than male drivers. This group is also targeted as influencers of driver behaviour.

Main messages

  • Mobile drug testing is increasing and if you take drugs and drive, you will be caught, there's no escaping it
  • Mobile drug testing can occur anytime, anywhere and the next police car you see could stop you for MDT
  • Drivers caught with drugs in their system will face court, could lose their licence, be fined and end up with a criminal record
  • Police are just doing their job to keep you, your family and everyone else on our roads safe


The MDT campaign  includes 30-second and 15-second television advertisements, YouTube content, radio advertisements, outdoor taxi backs, in-venue, digital and social media.

Research and evaluation

Before the campaign was developed, research was conducted to better understand the attitudes and behaviours of drug using drivers and to identify information needs. Future research will be undertaken with the target audience to gauge awareness and effectiveness of the MDT campaign.