Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jan 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Kevin Connor
Page: 6


Group wants limits set on pot-booze mix

Ottawa needs to establish levels of impairment for motorists who
consume a mix of alcohol and marijuana, according to MADD Canada.

Canada's Liberal government plans on introducing a bill to legalize
pot in the spring and there are currently tests being done on
marijuana breathalyzers.

If a driver is under the limit for alcohol impairment and is also
below yet-to-be established driving levels for marijuana, would the
combined results still make a motorist unfit to be behind the wheel?

"Ottawa will have to put a level for what is deemed to be impaired,"
insisted Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD Canada.

"(In Ontario) they are testing two devices. They are moving the way of
European countries, but for us the process is always slow. They are
going to have to have these in place before they legalize marijuana
and then the lawyers will figure out a way to argue the results."

Toronto Police announced last month that officers would conduct a
pilot project to test the use of roadside screening devices to detect
drug-impaired drivers.

Drug testing devices are currently in use in Germany and Australia and

"The government is keenly aware of the significant impact impaired
driving, including drug-impaired driving, has for safety on our roads
and highways," said Ian McLeod, of Department of Justice Canada "We
are currently examining ways to improve the ability to detect and
prosecute drug impaired drivers. The drugs and driving committee of
the Canadian Society of Forensic Science, the government's scientific
adviser, is reviewing the scientific literature on whether or not
blood drug concentration levels could be assessed for a number of
impairing drugs, including cannabis." York Regional Police laid 81
charges against alleged drug-impaired drivers in 2016, up 69% from

"It's alarming that prior to pending legalization of marijuana, we are
seeing a spike of driving impaired by drugs," said York police Chief
Eric Jolliffe.

In Ontario this year, there have been 200 drivers charged with drug
offences and 5,500 drivers with alcohol offences.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schimdt said police currently have tools to deal with
drivers on drugs.

Procedures include observing eye movement, physical dexterity and
blood pressure.

"We have road sobriety tests out there for officers now. We have the
tools until anything new is approved," Schmidt said.

Toronto traffic police Const. Clint Stibbe said any testing devices
that are made available to police will help make the roads safer.
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