Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jun 2016
Source: Advertiser (CN NF)
Page: A3
Copyright: 2016 Advertiser
Author: Randy Edison


Conversations with its partners in the fight against impaired driving 
were high on the agenda for Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD - Mother's 
Against Drunk Driving -while visiting the province recently.

One of the things heightened during his conversation with RCMP and 
RNC representatives was the need for increased capacity in testing 
for impairment from psychoactive drugs.

Murie said the laws are in place to help curb the problem, but it was 
"interesting to see how pathetically long it takes to get test results."

The problem is not unique to Newfoundland and Labrador, Murie said.

In fact, it exists right across the country.

In order for law enforcement to get aggressive about enforcement for 
impairment by drugs, governments need to provide more lab access, he said.

"The test results are such an important evidentiary piece," Murie noted.

And MADD intends to take the lead in lobbying for increased capacity.

"We have a great relationship with ( police) and we see the benefits 
in what they do," Murie told TC Media. "They're the lifesavers and we 
want to support them."

In fairness to police, they're paid to enforce not to lobby.

Murie also addressed regional MADD volunteers from around the 
province, as well as the provincial Liberal caucus during his visit 
to St. John's.

The CEO said he was encouraged by the energy of the local volunteers 
and the continued support of police forces in this province.

Murie said he's also encouraged about a program being developed by 
auto industry partners to deal with the drunk driving issue.

Technology is being developed by the manufacturers that will see 
blood alcohol levels detected as soon as a driver enters a vehicle, he said.

"I've had a chance to view it, and it's an incredible technology ... 
just as accurate as bloods tests," he said.

Murie expects there might be some rollout on the technology, "within 
the next year or so."

It might start in government fleets and take a while to penetrate the 
car market," he added.

Murie sees the tool as being particularly useful in this province.

"Newfoundland and Labrador is a big province and therefore hard to 
enforce," he noted. "This technology will act as enforcement."

Murie said he hopes to have access to a demo vehicle within the next 
year to take across the country to raise awareness.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom