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New survey shows majority of Canadians concerned about drug-impaired driving
A new study released this week says that a majority of people are worried about the issue of drug impaired driving on Canadian roads once the cannabis becomes legal next week.
The document, published by the Desjardins Group, indicates that 86 percent of Canadians are worried about the impact of impaired driving and 75 percent aren’t sure that changes to legislation, testing and awareness are progressing properly.
The report also says that most people (71 percent) expect to see an increase in impaired driving once marijuana becomes legal.
Some of the people that CTV Calgary spoke to on Friday said that they aren’t too worried about the risks of using marijuana and then operating a motor vehicle.
“I don’t think it has the same impairment effects that alcohol does and I think that everyone who currently smokes weed, you don’t see any accidents from it,” said one man.
He adds that he isn’t too sure that drug testing procedures are up to speed yet either.
“I don’t think they will hold up in court. I think it’s sort of a waste of resources, but I guess we’ll see what happens.”
Others say that they aren’t sure that legalization will change the current landscape of impaired driving very much at all.
“There might be a few more people who are experimenting once it’s fully legalized and they can acquire it.”
There is also a lot of concern about what sort of method the roadside testing process would use.
“We just don’t even know how the police would test for it and therefore enforce it,” said a woman. “It feels like there is a lot of unanswered questions.”
Many people also say that they aren’t sure that Alberta’s police forces are ready to roll out any kind of roadside testing or enforcement.
RCMP Corporal Richard Nowak says that there are a number of tests that police can use to determine if a driver involved in a traffic stop is impaired.
“If we make a determination that the individual is impaired at a criminal level, we can them proceed with the drug or alcohol process. For the drug, it would be a drug recognition expert evaluation and for alcohol, it would be the breathalyzer.”
The drug test involves taking the person through a series of five different coordination tests and several clinical readings such as blood pressure, heart rate, pupil dilation and other areas.
“It’s so we can see if their body is operating as if they are sober or if there is a drug influencing those readings.”
Denis Dubois, president and CEO of Desjardins General Insurance Group, says that law enforcement agencies across Canada are working hard to address the issue of drug impaired driving.
“This is a collective effort and Desjardins will continue to invest in awareness and education to mitigate injury and help save lives. We’ve always encouraged Canadians to drive responsibly and safely and we’ll continue to do so.”
The City of Calgary and Calgary Police Service will be holding an information session on Monday to provide more information about legal cannabis in the city.
(With files from Brenna Rose)