Legislation to address drug drivers

Alberta police will better be able to deal with drivers they think are stoned or high when new legislation comes into effect on Thursday.

CALGARY — Alberta police will better be able to deal with drivers they think are stoned or high when new legislation comes into effect on Thursday.

The Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension program is being expanded to include drug-impaired driving offences, effective Oct. 15.

Alberta Transportation spokeswoman Tammy Forbes says the province is changing its rules to align with the federal government’s Bill C-2.

Under the current rules, police can ask drivers to take a voluntary test if drug impairment is suspected but there is no repercussion for saying no.

Refusing a breath sample where alcohol impairment is suspected is a criminal offence and can result in a three-month driving suspension.

But Forbes says being under the influence of a drug, the impairment to drive a vehicle is the same as if the person were drinking alcohol.

The current laws make it tough for police to act when they think someone is stoned or high behind the wheel, said RCMP Cpl. Wayne Oakes, as drivers can refuse to take a test.

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