DRUGGED DRIVING CHARGE A FIRST WOMAN TESTED, ARRESTED AFTER CRASHING HER CAR INTO ACCIDENT SCENE
Toronto police have made their first-ever arrest under Canada's new drugged driving law, charging a woman yesterday after she crashed her car into an accident scene.
The new legislation on impaired driving came into effect in Canada in July. It includes mandatory tests to catch drug-impaired drivers.
The police arrested the 27-year-old Toronto woman around 4 p.m. on Richmond St. E. Police were on the scene investigating an earlier collision when the driver hit a vehicle involved in the crash. She was charged with impaired driving.
"Officers determined that she was not drunk, but they suspected drug use," said Sgt. Tim Burrows of traffic services. "There have been lots of cases where drug use has been suspected, but this was the first time a drug-recognition test was able to be used."
Burrows could not confirm what drug the driver had taken.
Prior to this legislation, police were allowed to ask drivers for a urine, blood or saliva sample if they were suspected of being under the influence of drugs. However, officers had to inform drivers that they were not obligated to take the test.
"There was no monitoring in place for us to make this demand at all," said Burrows, "New ground has been broken."
Under this new legislation, drivers suspected of drug use are taken to traffic services and tested by a specially trained drug recognition expert.
The test involves looking at indicators such as pupil size, blood pressure and the ability of the driver to multi-task. The final part of the test is a bodily fluid swab test.
Those caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will face at least a $1,000 fine for a first offence, a minimum of 30 days in jail for a second offence and 120 days in jail if they are caught a third time.
Officers are trained to check for several classes of drugs including cannabis, hallucinogens, cocaine and methamphetamine.
The driver, whose name was not released, was to appear in court this morning.
The Toronto Star