British Columbia

Feds give B.C. $10M to crack down on stoned drivers

The money will be used to help officers better recognize the signs and symptoms of drug impaired driving.

Impaired driving is a leading cause of injury and death in Canada

By the end of the year, Vancouver police hope to have 200 standardized officers trained in field sobriety testing along with 20 drug recognition officers. (Shutterstock)

The federal government is giving police in B.C. $10 million to help nab more drugged-out drivers.

Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair made the announcement in Vancouver Tuesday.

The money will be used to help officers better recognize the signs and symptoms of drug impaired driving.

Impaired driving is a leading cause of injury and death in Canada.

The funding is part of a previously announced $81 million earmarked for public and road safety across the country.

The money will be allocated over five years and is intended to help train officers whose job it is to conduct sobriety testing in the field.

Blair said the funding will also buy new drug screening devices for B.C. police forces..

"The decision on what technologies to invest and train officers in are entirely the purview of the police chiefs across the country."

"This will help the province get a clearer picture of the extent of the problem, to analyze trends, to identify gaps and to respond appropriately."

Which drug screening system B.C. officers will use is still undecided.

Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer welcomed the announcement.

"We look forward to the additional approved screening devices that are coming down the pike to help officers determine if an additional assessment is necessary."

"This funding will further contribute to increase the capacity of police to detect impaired driving."

But he added, police have been dealing with drug impaired drivers for a lot longer than the seven months since cannabis became legal in Canada.

By the end of the year, he said, the VPD hopes to have 200 standardized officers trained in field sobriety testing along with 20 drug recognition officers.

"Since legalization, we have not seen a significant increase in drug impaired driving in Vancouver. However, we will continue to be proactive in our detection efforts and time will tell the longer term impact of cannabis legalization."

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