Recognizing drug impaired driving
Published Monday, June 11, 2018 2:29PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2018 6:39PM EDT
In the lead-up to marijuana legalization, there are concerns more people will drive under the influence of pot.
Many police services, including Sudbury, are adding more drug recognition experts, but there are questions about the reliability of assessing this kind of impairment.
Right now, the Greater Sudbury Police Service has four officers trained as drug recognition experts, and two more will be trained this fall.
Tim Burtt is a Greater Sudbury Police ServiceSergeant.
“The officers who take the drug recognition program, those officers are trained to specifically identify the impaired driving portion by drug. There is going to be proposed testing methods that is based on when the legislation comes in and gets passed, until then we will continue to do business as we do right now.” said Burtt.
Glenn Sandberg is a criminal defence lawyer that says the current testing methods for charging someone with drug impaired driving are not a reliable way of assessing impairment.
"Well, the current method has a lot lacking, notably science to it. It's an imperfect approach to it." said Sandberg.
He says he feels better methods will evolve overtime.
"As it stands now, there are a lot of challenges faced by police in objectively trying to establish something that is being done by subjective means." said Sandberg.
Pat Boimistruck is a 79-year old driver who says she worries once marijuana is legal, there will be more people driving under the influence of it.
“We have a problem now with alcohol, and they can't prove that people are on drugs, so what are they going to do?” said Boimistruck.
Since the drug recognition program started in 2015 in Greater Sudbury, 40 people have been charged with driving impaired driving by drugs and only 10 have been convicted.