The Drug Class Blog

Mar 09

Drug Impaired Driving

Measures for Drug-Impaired Driving

It seems inevitable that the Canadian government will move toward the legalization of marijuana. Of course, the drug (and others) are already used illegally. But, as its use becomes more common, regulating impaired driving becomes more important.

Let's discuss several methods that are currently available to test drivers who are driving under the influence.

Standard Sobriety test Police who suspect drug impaired driving can pull over a motorist and assess their motor skills.

There are 3 types of mobility tests the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk and Turn test and the One-Legged Stand test. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test measures a person’s ability to see, and whether or not their eyes show involuntary jerking. The Walk and Turn test and the One-Legged Stand test evaluate attention, balance, and capacity to follow directions.

Roadside Saliva testing:

In the US & Australia the police can also take a saliva sample. The sample is then analyzed with a device, colloquially called a “potalyzer” which can accurately detect the presence of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Urine & Blood testing Once THC has been detected, motorists can be asked to go to the nearest police station, fire house, or hospital for a urine or blood test. Urine tests identify if there's THC in the body while blood tests detect the level of THC in the body.

5 Nanogram Rule Once the level of THC is known, the 5 Nanogram Rule is applied (in US & Australia) to count the number of milliliters of THC in the blood stream. When a driver is at 5 nanogram milliliters or higher, the chance of being involved in a fatal collision rises drastically.

Improvements & Challenges The Canadian government and Canadian Society of Forensic Science (CSFS) have a drugs & driving committee (DDC) committed to continually improve testing methods and developing new ways to test for THC.

One of the challenges Canada faces with the legalization of cannabis is with our young people. Statistics indicate that most teens do not believe cannabis has an effect on driving. We need to create more awareness and create a culture that does not accept drug-impaired driving.

What does this all mean?

Impaired driving is a growing concern; we want everyone to be informed and to stay safe. It is also important to know the police can predicate impaired driving arrests upon their professional discretion.

Currently, motorists can be fined or charged, and have their licenses suspended.

Let's keep everyone safe on the road and prevent drug impaired driving! Author:

Written in collaboration with Capital GMC, Capital Ford and Universal Collision Centre.


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