Canadians who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs will face tougher consequences and will no longer be able to refuse roadside drug tests when new laws kick-in next week.Impaired drivers claim many innocent lives, it is true, but it is also true that someone operating a motor vehicle after smoking a joint, especially an hour or two later, is likely much less impaired than someone on certain types of prescribed medications, or simply a driver suffering severe sleep deprivation. Is there a measure for the appropriate amount of sleep required before firing up the ignition? For that matter, traces of drug consumption can stay in the body for days, and sometimes even weeks afterwards. If I smoke a joint on Friday, will I be charged with impaired driving on Saturday night after getting snagged by a *RIDE* program on a drug and alcohol free night just because I look a little dopey and refuse to give up my body fluids to the police?
As of July 2, police officers will be able to require drivers to submit to a roadside sobriety test. As well, they can take drivers they suspect of being on drugs to a hospital for either a blood, saliva or urine test.
"More and more often individuals are refusing to give those samples and so now finally we are changing the law in this country that you will be compelled or you will be charged and I think that's a reasonable response to the problem," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Friday.
Representatives from MADD said the new law is a victory for the organization, because impaired driving is the number one criminal cause of death in Canada.Guilty until proven innocent, but maybe just guilty. It's just like the Human Rights Commissions: The process is only the beginning of the punishment.
"Those people have committed a criminal act by driving impaired, whether it's by drugs or alcohol and as far as I'm concerned they've lost their rights," said MADD Canada president Margaret Miller.
Cross posted at Dust My Broom and Mitchieville because it's Saturday night and I stayed home.