With the possibility of the government legalizing marijuana, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about drug-impaired drivers lately.
With the cannabis breathalyzer still in the preliminary stages and saliva testing only a remote possibility, police are spending time boosting their skills so they can detect drugged drivers.
But those skills can only go so far in keeping those impaired drivers off the roads, and that’s why Toronto police are looking forward to the fall when they will be able to penalize drug-impaired drivers in the exact same way they do alcohol-impaired drivers.
As of right now, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act does not allow for the immediate removal of drug-impaired drivers from the roads. That includes anyone the police suspect is under the influence of marijuana or other types of drugs.
By the fall everything will have changed, and drug-impaired drivers will receive many of the same penalties that alcohol-impaired drivers do including the following:
- Three, seven, and thirty day short-term driver’s license suspensions
- 90-day driver’s license suspension
- Seven day vehicle impounding
Changing the penalties is a good step in the right direction, but it’s still up to police to catch drug-impaired drivers on the roads. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has a few recommendations for police when it comes to screening stoned motorists.
MADD would be to see the implementation of saliva-based testing. It’s used outside of Canada, and MADD hopes it’s brought in before marijuana is legalized. They’d also like to set limits for different types of drugs, so if a driver was driving under the influence of marijuana vs another drug, there would be different limits for the driver. Parliament may be on board with that idea, and they’ve already funded a study to look at setting legal limits for THC.
Cracking down on drug-impaired drivers is going to be a learning curve for police, but the new legislation in Ontario will definitely help. Let’s hope lawmakers follow MADD’s recommendations and they stop the growing drugged driving epidemic before it gets as bad as drunk driving.