When Oceanside RCMP members pull over a vehicle for suspected impaiored driving, it’s not only alcohol they have on their mind.
Lately, says Cpl. Jesse Forema, police are also dealing with motorists who are impaired by drugs.
That realization comes after a member of Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services became trained as a drug recognition expert (DRE).
“Since that time he has performed nine evaluations, six of which are in the process of having charges approved of impaired driving either by drug or due to a drug and alcohol combination.
Typical examples took place on Jan. 23, and Feb. 2, when the Oceanside RCMP responded to calls from the public describing erratic driving behaviour involving a vehicle driving into the oncoming lane, almost causing a head on collision.
“In the first case, the vehicle nearly crashed into a ditch in Errington and was located by police shortly thereafter,” Foreman said. “In the second case the vehicle did crash into a ditch on the Alberni Highway in Coombs.
The same man was driving in both cases and was detained for impaired driving.
“In both cases he provided breath samples that were at or under the legal limit,” Foreman said. “However, the DRE performed an evaluation that determined the driver was impaired due to a combination of alcohol and drugs.”
Foreman noted it is also important to remember that some prescription medication may mix very poorly with alcohol and cause significant impairment.
“When mixed with even one alcoholic beverage the impairment may be significant,” he said. “You are the best judge of your own abilities. Please use caution and find another ride if you feel your ability to drive may be affected by something you have consumed.”
The Motor Vehicle Act and Criminal Code consider impairment by drug to be as serious as alcohol in terms of fine or penalty. The tragic results of drug impaired driving are the same as drunk driving, and are completely avoidable.