It’s been a few years since Statistics Canada has released data on impaired driving, but a report they released just last week could raise a few eyebrows when it comes to the impact drug-impaired drivers are making on the country.
Long story short, Statistics Canada’s data shows that drug-impaired drivers aren’t being prosecuted as in the same way as drunk drivers. Here’s the Coles Notes on the Statistics Canada report and what could it could mean for drivers in Canada.
The number of drug-impaired drivers is rising
3,000 of the 75,000 impaired driving cases report by police in 2015 were due to drug-impaired driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) also weighed in on this number and felt that, due to limited ability to detect drugged drivers, that number is probably low because so many drivers go undetected.
Drug-impaired driving cases take longer to prosecute
After digging through the data, an analyst revealed that drug-impaired drivers in Canada were taking twice as long to go through the court system. Not only that, but once they do the courts are less likely to end with a guilty verdict.
Better detection for drug-impaired drivers is needed
Long before the Statistics Canada report was released, MADD was pushing for improved drug testing for Canadian drivers. They’d like to see Canadian police have the power to use an oral fluids test like those found in Europe, and that tongue swab would detect cannabis, opioids, and hard drugs like cocaine.
It’s shocking that after all of the years of ad campaigns, public service announcements, and crack downs by law enforcement that impaired driving of any type is a problem at all in Canada. Although reports by Statistic Canada can pinpoint exactly what’s going on, they don’t have a crystal ball to tell the provinces how to fix it, and that’s exactly what they need.