One of the big problems with the devices - one a cotton swab, the other a plastic applicator used on the mouth - is that they can't read just how impaired a driver may be.

Legalized recreational marijuana use may be on the horizon for Canadians, but driving while under the influence of the drug is, and always will be , very much a no-no. Testing of drugged drivers begins in earnest this week, where a pilot project in Halifax has police trying out two drug-detecting devices.

The "drugalyzers," as CBC reports, are portable devices made by Alere and Securetec, and can detect cannabis, cocaine, opioids, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, ketamine, and MDMA (ecstasy). The results of the devices can't currently be used in Canadian courts, and the tests in Halifax are being done on a volunteer basis.

That said, the hope is that the devices will be ready to use in the future to catch drivers under the influence of drugs. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is pushing for the devices, saying that in 2012, more drugged drivers caused deadly crashes than did drunk drivers.

Prime Minister Trudeau has made it clear he wants to legalize, regulate, and restrict the use and selling of marijuana in Canada.

One of the big problems with the devices - one a cotton swab, the other a plastic applicator used on the mouth - is that they can't read just how impaired a driver may be. Beyond a positive or negative reading, they can't say just how much drugs a person has taken. Const. Kristine Fraser is a traffic unit officer who's participating in the pilot, and she tells CBC that if the devices were to become legal in Canada, a person who gets a positive reading would then go to a drug recognition officer who would do further tests to figure out just how impaired a person was.

More on impaired driving:

Prime Minister Trudeau has made it clear he wants to legalize, regulate, and restrict the use and selling of marijuana in Canada. Whether that would lead to an increase of drugged drivers remains to be seen, but having these types of devices to catch people breaking the law is a step toward keeping roads safer.

It's important to remember that in Canada, drunk driving and drugged driving carry the same criminal charges. Anything - legal or illegal - that impairs your ability to drive could result in charges. If you're ever unsure about your ability to drive, just hang up the keys and find another way home.

Photo: cagrimmett on Flickr

Source: CBC

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