Sudbury·Audio

Action Sudbury wants roadside tool to screen for drugged drivers

A Sudbury group against impaired driving says it has long been educating people about the dangers of taking drugs and getting behind the wheel.

Police need more power to act in cases where they suspect someone is impaired by drugs and driving

Sudbury police urge anyone who suspects an impaired driver to call 9-1-1. (CBC)
Police could soon have a new tool to use on suspected drug-impaired drivers. Police say there are just as many drug impaired drivers as drunk drivers. We spoke about the issue with Andrew Murie, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. 6:21

A Sudbury group against impaired driving says it has long been educating people about the dangers of taking drugs and getting behind the wheel.

The chair of Action Sudbury and retired traffic officer Ron Roy said he’s seen the shift as Sudbury police lay more charges against drivers impaired by drugs, rather than alcohol.

Including drugs in the fight against impaired driving is the reason behind a change in the group's slogan.

“About five years ago we changed our motto to ‘don't drive while drinking alcohol’ to ‘drive aware, not impaired’ to include the drug and the texting and stuff like that.”

Roy said police need more power to act in cases where they suspect someone has been taking drugs and driving.

He also says a road-side unit to analyze saliva for drug levels could soon be approved and help officers during road-side checks.

Police currently rely on specially trained officers to recognize drug impairment, he noted.

“Drugs, most of the time, there's no smell. If it's marijuana, of course, you can detect it … but a lot of cocaine has no odor,” Roy said.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving CEO Andrew Murie said he expects proposals made by the group will be introduced by the federal government by the end of this year.

Part of that is new technology that involves licking a litmus paper and analyzing the saliva. The test would allow road-side checks similar to breathalysers, giving police more power to enforce the law.

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