Police ramp up roadside drug tests

OVER the past six months there has been a six-fold increase in police trained to perform roadside drug tests as the State Government fights the rising road toll.

Police Minister Bill Byrne said officers would be out in force these Christmas holidays testing drivers for alcohol and drugs.

He said the government's $1.7 million Dry Drivers advertising campaign and $5 million If it's flooded forget it campaign were already working.

"This year there have been seven fewer deaths to date in the central region than in 2014," Mr Byrne said.

Read Mr Byrne's full Christmas message below

But Opposition main roads spokesman Scott Emerson has written an open letter calling on the government to partner with regional media including APN Australian Regional Media, which owns this paper, if the government is serious about tackling the road toll.

"Any death on our roads is one too many and so far this year we have seen more than 230 Queenslanders lose their lives - that's at least a dozen more than this time last year," he said in an open letter to Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey, who is on leave.

"In parts of regional Queensland this increase is disturbingly higher."

>>> Read Mr Emerson's full letter here

Mr Bailey is on leave but Acting Road Safety Minister Leeanne Enoch has shot back at Mr Emerson's accusations.

She said the State Government would outstrip the $4 million spent on road safety advertising in the past financial year and the $1.7 million spent in 2013-14 while Mr Emerson was main roads minister.

>>> Read Ms Enoch's full reply to Mr Emerson here

Ms Enoch said many of the government's campaigns were not captured in advertising spending, but were part of $600 million in next four years in road safety projects and initiatives.

"We will work together with all interested parties," she said.