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PM promises stiffer sentences for drug-impaired drivers.


timouse
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CBC story.

Police have been asking for this type of power for years. But unlike breathalyzer tests, which can determine a driver's blood-alcohol level, there has been no surefire scientific test to determine what drug a driver may have used.

"If we see someone driving erratically, we really have a high hill to climb to prove it's from drug-impaired driving," Sgt. Brian Bowman of the Toronto Police traffic service told CBC News Friday.

"We almost need the smoke to waft out of the car or have the pills fall out on to the road."

Bowman said drug recognition evaluation — a series of tests that looks for families of drugs — will help Canadian police notice the signs and symptoms of drug impairment in drivers who have been pulled over, then testify against them.

The evaluation has "proven itself in the States to the point where hopefully, our courts will be ready for it," he said.

Harper acknowledged there are "technological challenges" in terms of testing for certain kinds of drugs, but added "there are ways to strengthen the legislation to get convictions in clear cases" of driving under the influence of drugs.

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I really don't think people should be driving stoned, drunk or tired. I'm always uncomfortable in cars where the driver smokes a big fatty. It always seems to be done with the notion that you can't get in trouble for it.

Well, you sure as hell can wreck a good paint job or someone's nice new leased vehicle while increasing everyone's insurance rates by driving impaired. Oh, and you can injure things while your at it to the point of possible death.

I suppose if there is an undefined grey area, and they cannot confirm that the small amount in your system isn't impairing in nature, then you've got a flawed system and someone who smoked 3 hours ago could face fines or a license suspension.

What do you think of this?

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I dunno. I think there are enough boozehounds (not to speak of speeders, aggressive drivers, doofuses on cellphones, people without plates, etc.) on the roads to keep cops plenty busy. This just seems to me like Harper wanting to stir up antipathy towards potheads because they're a subculture he can get away with picking on, and those are in short supply for him these days.

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Guest Low Roller

Impaired driving is impaired driving, regardless whether it's pot or booze, and I'm glad that the government is going to take some measures to punish it finally.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, anyone who defends driving while stoned do it themselves. Better decide soon what's more important to you: smoking a joint or having a driving license.

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I really don't think people should be driving stoned, drunk or tired. I'm always uncomfortable in cars where the driver smokes a big fatty. It always seems to be done with the notion that you can't get in trouble for it.

Well, you sure as hell can wreck a good paint job or someone's nice new leased vehicle while increasing everyone's insurance rates by driving impaired. Oh, and you can injure things while your at it to the point of possible death.

I suppose if there is an undefined grey area, and they cannot confirm that the small amount in your system isn't impairing in nature, then you've got a flawed system and someone who smoked 3 hours ago could face fines or a license suspension.

What do you think of this?

i agreee that impaired is impaired...whether it's a cellphone, 4 beers, or a big fatty. i think what makes me nervous is how exactly the "evaluation" works, and whether or not this will give a roadside cops further license to make someone's like more difficult...the "grey area" you speak of is exactly what worries me, and anything that "worked well in the states" frankly gives me the heebie jeebies.

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I'd interpret this move by Harper as a) consistent with his and his party's views and platforms B) an effort to 'stir the base'.

Stirring the base is a sort of classic Republican/Conservative maneouvre whereby you send up these 'test balloons' of public sentiment (usually ideologically driven) that has no real downside for you and then you sort of see if it stirs up your own base of support.

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i agreee that impaired is impaired...whether it's a cellphone, 4 beers, or a big fatty. i think what makes me nervous is how exactly the "evaluation" works, and whether or not this will give a roadside cops further license to make someone's like more difficult....

impaired drivers KILL people. their lives DESERVE to be made a little more difficult.

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I'd interpret this move by Harper as a) consistent with his and his party's views and platforms B) an effort to 'stir the base'.

Stirring the base is a sort of classic Republican/Conservative maneouvre whereby you send up these 'test balloons' of public sentiment (usually ideologically driven) that has no real downside for you and then you sort of see if it stirs up your own base of support.

That's kinda what I was thinking. There'd be no argument from anyone I know that impaired driving is stupid at best and unimaginably catastrophic at worst. It's the vagueness of this plan, as timouse points out, that's so creepy. The whole things has a sort of "have you stopped beating your wife yet" quality to it. Come out defending pot in this case and you come off looking bad.

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there are a hell of a lot of sober drivers that are far more impaired than the law would sugest.

if you're uptight, too groggy,sick, in pain, hungry,angry, sad, preoccupied...

there's a lot of impairment going on that doens't quite class it as such.

When people stop being proactive about their driving and lose control of the situation or lose their initiative then bad driving occurs, whether you're stoned, high, drunk, or otherwise impaired.

yes it's a black and white issue but it can also be a very grey area issue.

I drive in a very overcrowded area for drivers - especially one that is new canadian drivers.

many of those people are very healthy and sober

and crazily uptight and nervous.

that makes the rest of us nervous.

glad tobe in vancouver. at least a few people are stoned right now. and taking their time to look over their shoulders to check their blindspots. and not speeding. and making an effort to be more courteous.

because i they get in an accident they are the bad example.

and ruin it for the ones that don't want to be uptight about driving.

safe driving is not just about what you ingest or not.

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  • 2 weeks later...

if there was a viable equivalent of a breathalizer for checking drug impairement I'd be less opposed

and am also concerned whether the testing is to determine if you have any drugs in your system, or if its to test for a significant enough level to warrant accusing you of being impaired (and how that level has been determined)

picture you're at a party where half the people are smoking up and you're not but are breathing the air... you leave, blood tests positive for cannabis, and $10,000 in defence fees later maybe you don't lose your license and go to jail... even though you "just said no"... alcohol doesn't end up in your system just by being in the same room

also some drugs linger in the system... what if you do something recreationally on the weekend and then still test positive for it on tuesday morning while driving to work

mainly I just don't like the idea of the police being able to say "according to the Doppleghan/Struess system of impairement evaluation I believe you are on drugs and therefore request a blood and urine sample"

bad luck for people with a stigmatism of the eyes that doesn't allow their eyes to open fully... or people with allergies... or a head cold... or a speech impediment... or who take painkillers for a chronic disorder... or like patchouli oil or burning incense... or simply have a nervous disposition... or... or... or...

sounds like a sweet cash cow for the court systems anyways

Edited by Guest
yes
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thank you paisley, that's the original point i was trying to make.

i was at a lab equipment trade show years ago and got talking to a guy that ran a drug testing lab...he was there offering his services to the big companies in attendance. i stopped at his booth and talked to him, and tried to get him to open up by taking a symathetic viewpoint...it worked.

he told me that you could be in a room with poeple smoking a joint and days later testing would register THC in your system.

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Yeah to paisley.

My balance is terrible, I forget words constantly and am always nervous around cops, whether I've done something or not (Almost every time I get pulled over or stopped by cops they ask why I'm so nervous but 99% of the time there's no real reason).

I also smoke all the time and would hate to lose my license (and probably passport) because I smoked two days before.

If there's no definate test then I don't understand how this can possibly pass, it is very unconstitutional and just downright wrong.

Then again, we are becoming much more american here which means we have to get used to the whole police state idea and lack of privacy or rights so there's not much I can do

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I think that there are many people out there driving on our roads that need a refresher course in shoulder-checking.

Not enough people actually do it.

And alot that do are checking after their car is already in the side-swipe zone.

I consider myself I pretty darn good driver. But I often wonder what rules/skills I have forgotten since I got my licence 14 years ago. It's strange to me that we are not tested again until we are 8000 years old.

What's the rule about getting eye glasses after you've received your licence (stating that you do not wear glasses)?

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"Due to your obvious difficulty recognizing the correct spelling of the common word "license" Ms. Douglas we're going to have to ask you to come down to the station so we may collect a sample of your blood and urine.

Refusal to comply will result in a 10 year prison sentance if you are involved in an accident that causes bodily harm later today."

(not a good scenario)

Edited by Guest
yes
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This is all bullshit until they get a conceret way to prove you are stoned at the time.

furthermore driving while high on pot is waaaaaaaaaay different than driving while drunk, and in my exprerience far less dangerous.

However ytou are not allowed to say that or MAAD looses thier shit.

Harper is just looking for another right wing crusade.

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