Pubdate: Tue, 20 Oct 2009
Source: Athabasca Advocate, The (CN AB)
Contact:  2009 Athabasca Advocate
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


It's about time authorities were given more power when dealing with
drug-impaired drivers. Every year, thousands of people die in this
province after convincing themselves they're sober enough to get behind
the wheel. Thousands more lose their lives after thinking the drugs in
their system won't impact their ability to operate a vehicle. Some drivers
are even foolish enough to think taking certain drugs will help them drive
better. It's a scary thought. The federal government's decision last week
to expand the Alberta Administrative License Suspension (AALS) program to
include drug-impaired drivers is definitely a step in the right direction.
But what took so long? Before last week, the AALS included only those
drivers in cases of suspected alcohol impairment who refused a breath
sample. Those drivers could lose their license for up to three months.
With the strong odour it leaves behind, alcohol is easier to test for on
drivers. Testing for drugs is a whole different ball game and involves a
one-hour evaluation by a specially trained officer. Now, police officers
who suspect a driver is impaired by drugs can request a drug test on the
spot. It's hard to believe that before last week, police officers who
suspected a driver was impaired by drugs had little legislation to back
them up. The fact that some drugs are more difficult to detect than
alcohol makes this legislation all the more important and gives police
officers the power they need to get these nincompoops off the road. With
Athabasca's proximity to Highway 63, one of Alberta's more dangerous
roads, this town sees more fatal crashes than most. Let's hope the
expansion of the AALS to include drug-impaired drivers will help change
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doug