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OPP prepared to deal with drug-impaired drivers

ORILLIA - Heading into the first Festive RIDE campaign since the legalization of non-medical cannabis, the OPP is reminding drivers police are as prepared to deal with drug-impaired drivers over the holidays as those who are alcohol-impaired.

So far in 2018, alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in the deaths of 39 people on OPP-patrolled roads.       

From Jan. 1 to mid-October, (the latest available data) the OPP laid more than 6,700 impaired driving charges across the province, 283 of which involved drug impairment.

“Drivers who consume cannabis and think they can avoid detection by the OPP need to think again,” said Interim Deputy Commissioner Rose DiMarco.

“The OPP has a strong set of tools and skills that enable them to take drug and alcohol-impaired drivers off our roads. Whether a person is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, impaired is impaired. Both forms are dangerous, serious criminal offences and they carry similar penalties.”

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Sylvia Jones said, “Make no mistake - just because recreational cannabis has been legalized doesn’t mean you can drive while under the influence.

“Driving impaired - whether from drugs or alcohol - remains a serious criminal offence.

“I want to assure the public that police officers across the province have received the training they need to identify drug-impaired drivers and will continue to keep roads and highways safe.”

Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek said, “It’s never okay to drive impaired, whether by alcohol or drugs. There are strict laws and penalties in place for offenders, including a zero tolerance policy for young, novice and commercial drivers. Safety has been and will continue to be our primary focus.”

The OPP is also reminding anyone transporting cannabis in a vehicle, that it must be in its original,  unopened package or packed in baggage that is fastened, closed or is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle.

Anyone who suspects someone is driving or about to drive impaired is urged to call 9-1-1 to report them to police.

November 30, 2018


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