OPP Update District Councilors On Impaired Driving
The OPP recently took District councillors through a typical vehicle stop where they suspected the driver might be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
OPP inspector Michael Burton told District council during their latest meeting that the police are facing a number of new challenges when it comes to impaired driving and impaired driving by drugs like cannabis in particular.
The numbers are disturbing said Burton. Between Bracebridge and Huntsville officers have arrested more than 200 impaired drivers, both by alcohol and drugs, as of the end of September.
As part of the presentation two OPP officers ran through an impaired driving scenario using District staff as their hypothetical impaired driver. The officers ran through a typical field sobriety test, which includes checking the pupils for signs of drug or alcohol intoxication, walking a straight line (typically known as the walk-and-turn), and a balance test. The officer said those impaired by cannabis tend to perform extremely poorly on the balance test in particular.
The driver can be arrested based on the result of that field sobriety test and taken back to the station. Back at the station, those suspected of impairment by drugs can face an hour long process of what is known as a drug recognition evaluation. If alcohol is suspected they go through the standard breathalyzer test.
There are currently eight drug recognition officers serving Muskoka but all new recruits from the OPP academy are now being trained.