PEI

P.E.I. to allow roadside drug screening devices

P.E.I. Transportation Minister Robert Vessey says changes will be made to the Highway Traffic Act this fall to pave the way for Island police officers to use saliva screening devices.

Devices first need federal approval

P.E.I. Transportation minister Robert Vessey says drug impairment on Island highways is a serious problem that must be addressed (CBC)

P.E.I. Transportation Minister Robert Vessey says changes will be made to the Highway Traffic Act this fall to pave the way for Island police officers to use saliva screening devices.

They are used to detect drivers under the influence of drugs.

"They're called a drug wipe," said Vessey. "They're a small device where the officers in law enforcement would be able to swab the operator of a vehicle that they think may be impaired. And they'll insert the swab into the device. And it will indicate the level of impairment, if it is a pass or a fail." 

Vessey said the P.E.I. government wants to have the legislation in place so that the devices can be used as soon as they receive federal approval and are recognized in the criminal code.

"It is a very serious problem on our highways and we don't want to be behind on this for four or five months waiting for a house sitting. So it is just having our ducks in a row and getting this ready to be mandatory."

Vessey said the cost of of having these devices and who would cover those costs, is still to be worked out.

The department will also amend the Highway Traffic Act so that drivers convicted of drug-impaired driving will face the same mandatory addictions treatment that is currently required for alcohol-impaired drivers. 


 

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