PA Now
April 18, 2017

The president of MADD Prince Albert has faith the ramped-up impaired driving laws attached to the legislation to legalize marijuana in Canada will work to address a possible spike in drug-impaired driving.

With the federal government’s legalization plan came new actions, if passed, to curb drug impaired drivers through the implementation of saliva screening devices to check for marijuana impairment and a slew of new driving offences for those caught driving while high.

For Trina Cockle, president of the local MADD chapter, the new impairment rules were “very solid.”

“[I’m] pretty happy…with everything that has come down so far, as long as it all ends up going through this way,” she said. “It looks like they have taken a lot of what MADD Canada and other professionals have given them and actually listened. It looks like they are implementing most of those things, maybe not to a T, but it looks like they are implementing what MADD Canada has put forward.”

Cockle said since initial talks were sparked around a possible end to the prohibition of marijuana, and with drug impaired driving becoming more prevalent in recent years, the group has been busy trying to get ahead of the curve.

Working to enact preventative measures, participating in education and awareness campaigns alongside direct engagement with government on policy has been the centre of focus for MADD.

She said working to remain active on the subject of drugged driving has always been a priority for the group, but the recent legislation just moved it to the forefront a bit more quickly.

The possible implementation of mandatory roadside screening if police have “reasonable suspicion” of impairment of either drugs or alcohol was also applauded by Cockle, who said this was a matter MADD Canada has voiced support for, for some time, as it has significantly reduced the number of roadside deaths in other countries where it has been introduced.

“They [police] know that people get through check stops. People do get through those and so with the mandatory screening…I think that will help the misconception that ‘I won’t get caught,’” Cockle said.

Though reading some backlash online pertaining to the new laws, Cockle said they “only make sense.”

“We don’t want any more of these fatalities on our roadways. We want to feel safe when we are travelling, and the only way to do that is to make these laws as strict and stringent as they can possibly be,” she said.