Maritime police stepped up impaired driving checks over holiday season
Over the holiday season, RCMP officers in the Maritimes conducted more than 200 checkpoints resulting in almost 50 drivers being arrested or charged with impaired driving.
Here’s the breakdown by province:
- In P.E.I., there were nine charges of impaired driving -- all related to alcohol and four drivers had their licences suspended for alcohol impairment --- two for drugs.
- In Nova Scotia, 16 drivers were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day and eight were arrested on suspicion of driving high. In seven of those cases, police required blood samples from the suspects. Nine drivers were also suspended because of alcohol use.
- In New Brunswick, 16 drivers were charged with impaired driving since mid-December and another 17 were suspended.
In Nova Scotia, the RCMP are using a new roadside tool -- the Drager Drugtest 5000.
“The driver will provide a sample of their oral fluid, essentially their saliva,” said Const. Chad Morrison of the Nova Scotia RCMP traffic division.“The results of that will show whether they have THC or cocaine in their body.”
A fail means more testing back at an RCMP detachment.
There are five Drager units being used by RCMP in Nova Scotia. RCMP on Prince Edward Islandaren't using them yet, but three are on order.
RCMP in New Brunswick are not using the instruments as part of their roadside screening protocol.
Officers now also no longer need probable cause to require a breath sample for alcohol testing.
Some say all these new measures and tool are almost certain to result in court challenges..
“What they're doing is they're taking a test which will show the mere presence of marijuana or another drug in someone's system, and they're using it as a basis to do way more intrusive testing,” said lawyer Thomas Singleton.
But for the Atlantic representative of MADD Canada, the new measures are well within reason -- and worth it.
“It improves highway safety, and other countries where this legislation has been introduced, there's been a significant decline in impaired deaths,” said Susan MacAskill, MADD Canada’s Atlantic regional manager.
MacAskill says the legislation and new tools help ensure everyone's safety, with the hope of saving lives.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.