Friday, November 10, 2006

New Drugged-Driving Legislation

Prime Minister Harper has unveiled new legislation to target drivers under the influence of drugs.

MADD strongly supports this initiative.

I tried to get into the news conference where this was being announced, but all I got for my efforts were some MADD ribbons.

You will sleep better at night knowing that the Prime Minister is well-guarded by the RCMP, and quite safe from the likes of me.

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More thoughts (?) on this at Red Tory.


Anonymous said...

So, you are one of those pro-drugs activists who are bent on getting their way even if they have to attack Prime Minister Stephen Harper? I would never have guessed.

Rich from Hespeler said...

Yes, the security was tight, more than I'd ever seen at any of SH's other appearances. However, later in the morning, they must have judged that there was no organized threat. I was there in the crowd outside the Waterloo Ballroom. Although my name was on the security list, everyone was being kept outside for the longest time. At one point, one of his handlers asked us to form a corridor for the PM's entourage to walk through. Then a few minutes later the same flunkie waved us all in to the ballroom. No screening, no security check for anyone. Odd. Again, sorry that you didn't get in; if you had waited around, you would have.

Zac said...

Joanne, the security around the PM is always tight, don't worry about it. I remember being told to move along by a large man with a large gun in hand when Paul Martin swung through Hamilton. After telling him that I was one of the organizers, he looked at me puzzled for a minute and then repeated his demand. If you think its tough for you, try being a young punk, wearing a Ramones t-shirt.

Anyhoo...I digress. The announcement with Harper seems fair enough although I'm not too sure how police will actually ensure that the driver is high. The technology currently available isn't accurate.

Basically, good in theory, a bit tough in practice.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

lol! John, yeah, they were wise to keep me out, boy. After all, I could have stuck him with my poppy pin.

Hey Rich, I should have just walked in I guess. All those Mounties and plainclothes police were a bit intimidating. And they kept saying you "had to be on the list".

Felt like I was trying to get into an exclusive New York club or something.

How was it anyway, since you were there first-hand?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Zac. I don't feel like a total outcast now.

I heard on CTV that there is some kind of test being developed that can differentiate between various types of drugs used and possibly the levels just from a saliva or blood sample.

One would presumably have to be given this test in a controlled setting, I would imagine.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Here's the Star report:

"But Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that problem has been eliminated in the United States with the introduction of a series of tests that looks for families of drugs."

PGP said...

While I am opposed to drug use and to irresponsible drivers...It does little to encourage my trust in a PM who seems too concerned about nurse nanny laws like this when there are much bigger fish to fry!

There are a lot of liberal misdeeds that need to be investigated and prosecuted and have so far not been ...
There are terrorists and organized gangsters who need to be reigned in and taken out of our society........

There are systemic abuses of privilege in our civil institutions that need to be addressed...

And so on........

BTW - The test code for my post was interesting .... beerfuru...I'm going to check out the Broom for FNB&B

Red Tory said...

What's the actual point of this?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

What's the actual point of this?

Um... To save lives?

Cherniak_WTF said...

.It does little to encourage my trust in a PM who seems too concerned about nurse nanny laws like this when there are much bigger fish to fry!
Wow sweater guy, we finally agree on something.
Makes you wonder how big a problem driver while high is, or is this just another cheap photo op?

provincial politcian said...

I think this is a serious issue. It gives cops the right to force people to road side tests if they think a person is high. Now I admit I have smoked some weed in my day, when I was in High school in the mid 90's I did alot of it.

Of course I grew up. A couple years ago, for some stupid reason, I was at a party and tried some again , and the stuff knocked me on my ass. The weed of today is much stronger than the weed of 10 years ago. The weed I did in High School is considered junk today. This is the reason the government can never get into selling weed and taxing it , because it gets more and more potent over time. I sure as hell couldn't stand up after that joint a couple years ago, let alone get the key in the ignition.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thank you, Provinical Politician. Mmm..

I won't ask if you're really a politician. ;)

Even prescription drugs can have a debilitating effect when driving. Response time can be seriously impaired.

I think this legislation will indeed help to make people more aware of the dangers of driving while high.

CWTF - or is this just another cheap photo op? If that's all it was, the security was pretty intense for such an event.

C. LaRoche said...

This is good and bad.

Provinicial politician: what, are you kidding me? The quality of marajuana has declined over the decades. It is less and less potent as the drug being dealt gets less and less pure. It's easier to make more money off of a lower-quality product when the dilutants are a lot cheaper than the drug itself. It sounds to me like you've just gotten older, or the toke you smoked from was higher-quality than you're used to.

This legislation is good, as driving while on drugs is dangerous, for obvious reasons. But a few thoughts:

1. As others have mentioned, the current range of detection methods leave us wanting. There's no surefire way to tell if someone is high or not without taking a urine sample.
2. Following from #1, I'm a bit scared -- not for me, but for some of my friends. I have smoked, but not in a while. Nor have I smoked while driving. But there have been those days where, be it from caffeine or the events of the day, I'd probably appear as a shaky mess if a cop pulled me over and stuck a flashlight in my face.

Different people react to situations differently; I have a friend who almost always appears high (his pupils appear large), and whose personal mannerisms give off an impression of scatterbrain. I have other friends who completely freak out when they are pulled over by police, and for no good reason. I have other friends who remain calm. I have other friends who ALWAYS have a hard time speaking clearly. All of these people can drive just fine. Stick a flashlight in their face, and they're likely to be dragged down to a police station. This seems like an awful violation of someone's time -- embarassing, degrading, etc. -- given that the current roadside check relies on a police officer "hunch." And I'd bet that for people in my age category (19-25; I'm 24, but look about 19), that hunch is going to be "positive" more often than not. The roadside test element of this legislation will need to improve A LOT before I'm happy with it.

Riley Hennessey said...

This legislation is much needed if not for the actual tactical importance of the legislation as it is for the symbolic importance.

I have met many people who feel its "ok" to drive under the influence of drugs despite their firm belief they shouldn't drive after they've drank.
We need to change this.

Congrats to the PM for making a smart move on this issue. I trust the police to make sound judgements on these issues. It doesn't take a genius to figure out a driver with semi-closed red eyes and a half open bag of cheeto's on the seat is stoned out of his mind.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Laroche and Riley, thanks for your input here. I think the key is to find a reliable test. I'm sure that the police will regard this as just another tool to help them do their job. They would have no interest in dragging in a pile of people for testing. It would just be in cases where someone is driving in a particularly erratic fashion.

Riley, I agree that this proposed legislation will raise awareness. Too many people forget how your concentration can be impaired by a whole host of causal factors.

Mac said...

I'm somewhat disappointed to hear the Conservatives are fiddling around with "Impaired By Drug" legislation. As it sits now, impaired driving isn't taken seriously by the courts. How will drafting up new legislation change that?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

s it sits now, impaired driving isn't taken seriously by the courts.

Well, Mac. You would be in a postion to know this. How do courts respond to impaired driving charges? Are you saying they're too lenient, etc.?

I heard something about Harper wanting law-enforcement to have a voice in vetting new judges. Seems like a great idea to me.

Mac said...

Sentencing for impaired driving is a joke... except it isn't funny.

The problem is most folks (including judges) take the position that anyone can have one too many drinks and fail a breathalyzer. This is one offence which should not be a "shades of gray" area. If you're drinking, don't drive... period!

I think the worst example I've seen was a guy who had 9 previous impaired driving convictions who was caught driving while still suspended from his last conviction and blew 0.410 mg (legal limit is 0.80) and the judge gave him a month in jail and a year licence suspension. 10 convictions for a supposedly serious criminal offence and he gets 30 days! Why bother!!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mac, that's terrible!

How do we get the judges to safeguard the victims rather than the criminals?