Pubdate: Thu, 04 Aug 2016
Source: Bloor West Villager (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Bloor West Villager


It's sad that we still have to warn people about the dangers of 
impaired driving; one would have hoped the message had been received 
loud and clear by now, but that is unfortunately not the case.

In today's editions of our papers we look at the consequences of 
impaired driving, from the standpoint of a woman whose life was 
forever altered after being struck by a driver who was impaired, and 
from the perspective of a young man who killed one of his best 
friends after crashing a car while driving drunk.

These are tragic stories, and in both cases they could have been 
avoided. We ask all our readers to think hard about the toll impaired 
driving can take on the lives of so many people and to make sure they 
take the necessary steps to avoid such tragedies. We can't emphasize 
enough the importance of not driving impaired - be it from alcohol, 
prescription drugs or marijuana.

It's critical for all to remember that alcohol is not the only cause 
of impaired driving.

As our stories show, there's growing concern among police about what 
impact Canada's new marijuana laws will have on impaired driving. 
Police are preparing for a spike in drivers "one toke over the line", 
and the Ontario Provincial Police are training officers to 
specifically detect drug-impaired drivers.

While police admit that it will remain to be seen whether 
drug-impaired driving increases in Canada, evidence from the state of 
Colorado (where marijuana is legal) indicates one in eight of its 
impaired driving citations in 2014 involved pot use.

Clearly, as the federal government moves towards relaxing Canada's 
marijuana-use laws it will have to take into account how 
drug-impaired driving is determined by police, and what standards the 
courts will be setting for criminal charges.

It is critical that the message gets out that drug-impaired driving 
is as socially and morally unacceptable as drunk driving.

Further complicating the dangers on our roads is the "grey" area of 
those driving (often unknowingly) under the influence of prescription 
drugs. Patients and doctors must improve their level of understanding 
about the impact of prescription drugs and medications on the ability 
of a person to drive, and make sure that information is available.

We all need to take a greater level of responsibility about our 
actions, and the decisions we make, before we get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom