If you thought drinking and driving is illegal in Canada (it IS btw, in case anyone wasn’t sure about that)… getting behind the wheel high as a kit and refusing to do a drug test – is NOW illegal.
After almost 5 years of intense debate in parliament, police officiers have finally been given new powers to fight this problem. The number of Canadians who say they have driven after smoking drugs has almost doubled since the late 1980s, according to a study released 18 months ago by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, which reported young men drive while high just as often, or even more, than they drink and drive.
Great – I feel safe on the roads!
TORONTO – Canadians who drive while high won’t be able to refuse roadside drug tests under new laws that kick in Wednesday.
Police can now require drivers to submit to roadside tests.
Officers also have the power to take suspected drug-impaired drivers to a police station or hospital to give a blood, urine or saliva sample.
Under the old law, police were obliged to tell drivers suspected of being high that roadside tests weren’t mandatory.
But as of Wednesday, refusing the test will be considered a criminal offence.
Drivers convicted of drug-impaired driving now face a minimum $1,000 fine for a first offence and a month in jail for a second conviction.
Beginning July 02 (yesterday), drivers suspected of being high will be required to perform physical tests at the side of the road, such as walking a straight line. If they fail, they will be sent to the police station for further testing by a trained “drug recognition expert” and then be forced to give blood, urine, or saliva samples if they flunk the second test as well.
But… ‘cause there’s always a but… here are some kinks in the revised system:
1. Critics say the new law could cause more problems that it solves, particularly because there is no reliable scientific test to detect drug use. Also, while there is a measurable link between blood alcohol levels and driving ability, research is lacking to equate drug quantity and impairment.
2. Another potential problem in testing bodily fluids is that they can detect marijuana smoked several days or months earlier and the effect has worn off. This kind of testing doesn’t test for impairment, it tests for past use of a substance and we know with certain substances they stay for a long time.
The federal government is also eliminating the so-called “two-beer defence” that has permitted people charged with impaired driving to argue that they couldn’t have been under the influence because they didn’t drink enough. The new law will make the breathalyzer test virtually infallible, unless an accused can prove that the machine malfunctioned.
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Talk about freak factor this morning. Certainly wasn’t expecting to be escorted out of town this morning by a small caravan of RCMP/FBI (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) looking black suburbans and OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) gigantic cargo trucks. It was like a scene from a weird suspense movie, and I was in it. *Gulp*
I’m not sure what our sleepy town did to deserve such a visit… but let me tell yeah – at 7:30 am – to be surrounded and then followed for several kilometers by such caravan (who later pulled over for breakfast…allowing me to speed a little… ) was enough to feed my suspicions and raise my only two eyebrows (it’d be kinda freaky if I had more than just two). I have no clue what brought the 3-4 black tint-windowed, stark black RCMP Suburbans and cargo vans and the two rather large intimidating OPP cargo trucks, to our unassuming town. I doubt they were there for a few stolen bicycles. I haven’t heard of any homicides recently either. It had to be something pretty big – some investigation of sorts…
So what could have possibly have brought the top secret, but no so secret police/RCMP/Swat team caravan, to a town of 36,000 habitants? We have our share of freaks in town (being that the psychiatric ward is not that far away)… could we have a slayer, D-rated slasher flick on our hands???
I swear I didn’t know that electric lawnmower I bought off Kijiji yesterday was stolen!!! I swear!!! I didn’t do it!!! And no… I swear I wasn’t doped up… I ALWAYS look this way first thing in the morning!! I double pinky swear!!!