Pubdate: Fri, 23 Dec 2016
Source: Stony Plain Reporter, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 The Grove Examiner & The Stony Plain Reporter
Author: Marcia Love


The message has been spread for years that drinking and driving don't
mix, but taking drugs and driving can be just as fatal and needs to be
taken seriously, police say.

The Capital West Integrated Traffic Unit reports it is seeing more
cases of impaired driving by drug use.

Const. Mike Hibbs of the Capital West Integrated Traffic Unit said
there were two individuals found to be impaired by drugs at a check
stop in the capital region this past weekend.

Anything that impairs an individual's ability to drive - whether it's
alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal - may result in an impaired driving

A 24-hour driving suspension is given to those found driving under the
influence of drugs, but Hibbs said those who are "really, really out
of it" are tested by a drug recognition expert. This can result in
charges being laid.

The officer said police are good judges of impairment when patrolling
the roads.

While drug impairment is on the rise, drinking and driving remains the
most prominent problem when it comes to impaired driving, Hibbs said.

As of Oct. 31, there were just over 3,800 people charged with impaired
driving in Alberta. About 1,600 roadside suspensions were additionally

Hibbs noted that facing a charge of impaired driving can cost an
individual up to $15,000 if a lawyer is hired.

Locally, RCMP have been busy with check stops during the Christmas
season and are emphasizing the importance of having a safe ride home
after holiday celebrations.

Spruce Grove/Stony Plain/Enoch RCMP Cpl. Kim Mueller noted several
check stops were held in different locations over the weekend. Of the
967 vehicles stopped, only one person was charged with impaired
driving, and another individual was issued a 24-hour suspension.

"That's a pretty good number, so hopefully the people in our Parkland,
Stony Plain, Spruce Grove area are making better choices," she said.

Mueller added officers will be continuing these check stops throughout
December, and everyone should ensure they have a plan that doesn't
involve driving under the influence.

"This is the season for family, friends, co-workers to get together
and have those parties, which is great, but just make a plan B," she

Drugs affect skills

The Ministry of Transportation is also drawing attention to the myth
that driving after using marijuana is safer than driving after
consuming alcohol.

According to a study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse,
cannabis creates performance deficits in the skills required to drive
safely, such as tracking, reaction time, visual function,
concentration, short-term memory and divided attention.

"While society has made significant inroads against impaired driving,
drugged driving is on the rise and Albertans need to be aware that, in
the eyes of the law, there is no difference between drunk driving and
drugged driving," Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation, stated in a
press release. "That is because alcohol and drugs impair a driver's
ability and increase the risk of an otherwise fully preventable crash."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt