Pubdate: Tue, 16 Dec 2014
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2014 Winnipeg Free Press
Page: B2


POLICE in Manitoba now have wider powers under provincial law to pull 
suspected drug-impaired drivers off the road.

"Driving while impaired by drugs is dangerous, illegal and has 
serious consequences," provincial registrar of motor vehicles Ward 
Keith said. "These amendments now provide police with the authority 
to take immediate roadside action in cases where a driver fails or 
refuses adrug-recognition evaluation."

That includes an immediate three-month suspension from driving and 
five demerit points if a driver fails the test. A driver faces the 
same penalty if they refuse to submit to a drug test or refuse to 
supply a blood or urine sample for a test.

The amendments to the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Act and 
Highway Traffic Act give police the power to issue the same penalty 
to a suspected drug-impaired driver regardless of the type of test 
police use to assess them - either a roadside physical coordination 
test or the more elaborate drug recognition evaluation test. That 
latter requires the testing of a blood or urine sample for drugs.

The new regulations, which took effect Dec. 1, cover impairment due 
to both illegal and prescription drugs.

The need to update the provincial legislation came out of concern 
from law enforcement that it wasn't strong enough. Police are more 
frequently dealing with drivers impaired by drugs, but lacked the 
authority to charge them as they would an alcohol-impaired driver.

Additional consequences for drug-impaired drivers may include being 
charged under the Criminal Code, vehicle impoundment, a mandatory 
impaired driver assessment at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba 
at the driver's expense and participation in the ignition interlock program.
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