Just as British Columbia is taking steps to amend their own impaired driving laws to plan a future crack down on drugged driving, Nova Scotia is looking to the future legalization of marijuana as an opportunity to change Nova Scotia impaired driving laws for the better.
Halifax police officers are sitting down and coming up with a game plan to deal with the changes and challenges that could come over the next year. They’d like to begin by focusing on a few key areas:
Harsher drug impaired driving laws
Thanks to strict alcohol-impaired driving laws in Nova Scotia, anyone who is stopped drinking and driving will receive an automatic three month driver’s license suspension. They’ll also pay fines, could have their vehicle impounded, and may be required to use an ignition interlock for a period of time.
That doesn’t happen yet with drugged drivers, and Nova Scotia lawmakers and police would like to see an immediate driver’s license suspension if a police officer suspects someone of driving under the influence of drugs.
Share the “Don’t Drive High” message
Do people understand that driving high is the same as driving under the influence of alcohol? Nova Scotia police don’t think so, and they’d like to get that message out there that if you’re going to do drugs, don’t drive high.
Educating police officers in DRE
Drunk driving is easily detectable through a breathalyzer, but there’s no such tool for drugged driving yet. That doesn’t mean police officers can’t detect a drug-impaired driver. Many Nova Scotia based officers are trained in DRE (drug recognition evaluation).
It’s a 12-step process that the officer will use to determine whether or not to ask for a blood or urine sample, and it’s effective to detect whether any driver is under the influence of drugs.
As they stand, Nova Scotia impaired driving laws won’t be able to handle the rush of drug-impaired drivers that could come with the changes to Canada’s marijuana laws, so coming up with a game plan while it’s still far off is a good step in the fight against drugged driving.