Why do you think it is fair to target adults who are 19, 20 and 21 with rules that do not apply to other people? Isn’t that discrimination?
Until recently, most provinces and territories did not have zero-tolerance limits for drugs, yet all provinces and two territories, (including the Northwest Territories), do address alcohol-impaired driving by novice drivers with zero-tolerance rules. Five jurisdictions also have zero tolerance rules for alcohol for drivers aged 21 and under.
The amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act will expand the zero alcohol tolerance laws for novice drivers by making them applicable for drivers aged 21 and under. This is consistent with existing practices in most Canadian jurisdictions. In addition, the extension of these zero tolerance rules to drugs, such as cannabis, is necessary to ensure that alcohol and drug impaired driving are addressed consistently.
The federal government reports that young people form the largest segment of Canadian drivers who are involved in fatal motor vehicle collisions and subsequently test positive for alcohol or drugs. Many of these crashes are caused by inexperience and poor judgment, and when these factors are combined with alcohol and drugs the results can be fatal. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, many young people do not consider driving while under the influence of cannabis to be as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol, and some even believe using cannabis before driving improves driving abilities. This is a dangerous misconception as the science is clear that cannabis does impair driving abilities, and evidence suggests that cannabis use doubles a driver’s chances of being involved in a car accident.
Road safety stakeholders such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada support administrative sanctions based on zero tolerance. Zero tolerance laws will send a clear message to young and novice drivers in the NWT that consuming alcohol or drugs prior to driving is not tolerated. The expanded zero tolerance requirements will also assist in enhancing public safety on our highways.
How will “zero tolerance” work? If I smoked cannabis yesterday, but am not impaired at all, why shouldn’t I be allowed to drive?
The oral fluid drug detecting devices that are being proposed for use under the Criminal Code and that may be used to enforce zero tolerance laws in the NWT, do not detect the non-impairing components of cannabis, so they would only provide a positive result if cannabis has recently been consumed.
The new zero tolerance laws for novice drivers, drivers aged 21 and under, and operators of specified commercial vehicles under the Motor Vehicles Act will make it an offence for these drivers to have any amount of cannabis or alcohol in their system, regardless of whether or not they are found to be impaired
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (also known as physical coordination tests) and evaluations by Drug Recognition Experts are testing methods approved under the Criminal Code to detect driver impairment by drugs. These testing methods are also approved for use under the Motor Vehicles Act.
It is important to remember that everyone reacts to cannabis differently. Reactions depend on various factors, such as the strength of the cannabis consumed, how it is consumed, and how quickly the individual metabolizes it. Because of this, it is impossible to say how long an individual should wait to drive after consuming cannabis, as the impairing affects will vary from person to person. If you have recently consumed cannabis, you should not be driving.
Have you considered what the zero tolerance rules will mean for medical cannabis users? Will you have exemptions for medical cannabis users?
The new rules will apply to all drivers, regardless of whether they have an exemption to use medical cannabis.
Unlike alcohol, the existing scientific evidence does not provide general guidance to drivers about how much cannabis can be consumed before it is unsafe to drive or how long a driver should wait to drive after consuming cannabis.
Everyone reacts to cannabis differently. Reactions depend on various factors, such as the strength of the cannabis consumed, how it is consumed, how quickly the individual metabolizes it, and if it is consumed with other impairing substances such as alcohol. Because of this, it is impossible to say for sure how long an individual should wait to drive after consuming cannabis, as the impairing affects will vary from person to person.
Mixing driving with cannabis, or any other impairing drug, is not safe and poses a serious danger to our highways. If you have recently consumed cannabis, you should not be driving.