Police to test new drug-detection devices on volunteer drivers

The RCMP and other police forces across Canada have launched a pilot project targeting stoned drivers.

Public safety minister Ralph Goodale said it will test how well officers are able to use certain roadside drug-testing devices on motorists.

Assuming they can find willing volunteers.

The devices, known as “oral fluid screening devices,” test saliva for the presence of various drugs, including cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine and opioids. Samples will only be taken from drivers and passengers who volunteer to anonymously provide them. None of the results from the testing will be used against them in court as evidence in any criminal or administrative proceeding.

The Canadian Criminal Code currently authorizes police officers to demand a standard field sobriety test. If the officer develops reasonable grounds to believe that an impaired driving offence has been committed, they can make a further demand for a drug recognition evaluation by a specially trained evaluating officer.

“Testing these new drug screening devices is an important step in our ongoing effort to enhance the enforcement of drug-impaired driving laws, reduce drug-impaired driving, and improve the safety and security of all Canadians,” said Goodale.

Participating police services include the Toronto Police Service, Vancouver Police Department, Ontario Provincial Police, Service de police de la ville de Gatineau, Halifax Regional Police Service, RCMP North Battleford Detachment and RCMP Yellowknife Detachment.

Legalization of cannabis and its impact on road safety is a key priority of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators,” said board chair Steve Louttit. “The project will ensure additional information on the usefulness of these tools is available to enforcement.”