Statistics Canada report shows drug-impaired drivers are getting off easy.

Photo of several police officers stopping cars one after the other.

Toronto Star File
Drug-impaired drivers are getting off the hook, according to Statistics Canada.

Drug-impaired drivers are often being let off the hook, according to Statistics Canada.

A report released last week was the first to contain national drug-impaired driving numbers and court data.

And it revealed some startling stats when it comes to drug-impaired driving.

“It’s interesting to see that (drug-impaired driving cases) usually take twice as long to be completed in courts, and less likely to result in a guilty finding,” said Statistics Canada analyst Samuel Perreault.

About 3,000 of 75,000 impaired driving incidents reported by police across Canada in 2015 involved drugs, including seven that were fatal.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada CEO Andrew Murie says the real numbers are way higher, however, and drug-impaired drivers are not being detected.

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse data seems to support that.

A roadside survey conducted in British Columbia in 2012, which collected voluntary saliva samples and breathalyzer tests from drivers, found 7.4 per cent were impaired by drugs while 5.4 per cent were impaired by alcohol.

MADD is pushing for the implementation of oral fluid tests to detect levels of illicit drugs like cannabis, opioids and cocaine, through a tongue swab.

Murie said the simple testing devices, which are used in Australia and some parts of Europe, could lead to more court convictions.

“Until we get that type of technology approved in the criminal code, we’re going to do a poor job of detecting drug-impaired drivers and a lot more people are going to be in crashes with drug-impaired drivers,” he said.

Edmonton police warned motorists earlier this month about the dangers of drug-impaired driving, saying drugs have been a factor in more than a third of Edmonton’s 23 fatal collisions in 2016.

Police said 40 to 50 per cent of impaired fatalities generally have a link to drugs, with many being a mixture of drugs and alcohol.

Source: Metro News