BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation Pleased with New Drug Impairment Law

    BURNABY, BC, June 25 /CNW/ - As of July 2, 2008 drivers will have to
submit to a Standardized Field Sobriety Test for impairment when demanded by a
peace officer who suspects they are driving while impaired by drugs.
    Bill C-2 empowers Canadian police who suspect a driver of being impaired
by any drug, illegal, prescription or over-the-counter, to demand the subject
submit to a breathalyzer test, physical coordination tests and an assessment
by a Drug Recognition Expert using the Drug Evaluation and Classification
(DEC) assessment along with a demand of bodily fluid samples (blood, saliva or
    "We are very pleased with this new law," stated Allan Lamb, executive
director of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. "Reducing the number of drug
impaired drivers on B.C.'s roads is a priority for the Foundation."
    During the month of June, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse held
random roadside drug surveys in several B.C. communities to gather baseline
information about the extent of impairment by drugs as well as alcohol.
Results of this survey should be known this fall.
    "I am particularly concerned that young drivers who act responsibly
toward the problem of drinking and driving, have no idea that they are also
impaired after using cannabis," says Lamb, who was present at one of the
roadside surveys in the Lower Mainland.
    Research supporting this legislation is clear. Epidemiologic studies of
drug use among fatally injured drivers in Canada indicate that drugs, often in
combination with alcohol, are detected in up to 30 per cent of fatally injured
drivers. Public opinion surveys indicate that about 17 per cent of Canadian
drivers report having driven within two hours of using an impairing substance.
According to CCSA's Canadian Addiction Survey, 5 per cent of drivers in Canada
admitted driving within two hours of using cannabis, a 50 per cent increase
since 1989. Among those 16 to 18, 21 per cent reported having driven after
using cannabis, slightly higher than the 20 per cent who reported driving
after alcohol use.
    "Such findings suggest that the drugs and driving problem is by no means
insignificant and may in fact be increasing," says CCSA Manager of Research
and Policy Doug Beirness.
    New penalties under the law include a fine of not less than $1,000 for
the first offence, and imprisonment for the second offence of not less than 30
days and not less than 120 days for each subsequent offence.
    Anyone convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs,
alcohol or both will be prohibited from driving a vehicle for one to three
years for the first offence and two to five years for the second offence.
    There are currently over 1,100 officers in B.C. trained to recognize drug
impairment in drivers. Officers with drug recognition training will now be
present at road checks in communities around the province.
    "Summertime marks the highest rates of driving while impaired in BC. With
the enactment of Bill C-2 on July 2 we hope to see a reversal in this trend,"
said Lamb.
    Time is the only thing that reduces the effects of impairment. Don't get
behind the wheel if you have consumed alcohol or drugs.

                             DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES

    About BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation:

    The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation (TSF) is a non-profit registered
charity working with families, communities and business partners to reduce the
number and severity of traffic crashes and injuries in B.C. For more
information contact visit www.bcaatsf.ca or call 604-298-5107.

    Available for Interview:

    Allan Lamb, Executive Director for the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

    URL for this media release is:


For further information:

For further information: Lennea Durant, Media Relations, BCAA Traffic
Safety Foundation, Tel: (604) 875-1182, E-mail: lenneadurant@shaw.ca; Allan
Lamb, Executive Director, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, Tel: (604)
297-2151/(604) 230-6159, E-mail: allan.lamb@tsf-bcaa.com

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