Fredericton / News / Police blog

Impaired driving still poses a threat to safety on the road

Fredericton Police Force Cst. Steve Stafford says that there’s still a lot of impaired drivers out there despite a dramatic decrease in the rates of impaired driving.

According to Statistics Canada, the rates of impaired driving in Canada has fallen by two-thirds over the past three decades. The statistics show that New Brunswick impaired driving rates are on par with the Canadian average of 200 cases per a population of 100,000.

“I'm fairly confident that if I went out on a Friday night at 1 am I’d get an impaired driver,” says Stafford. “They’re out there.”

The smallest amounts of alcohol and/or drugs can greatly affect your driving abilities.

“When you’re impaired your reaction time is much slower and you don’t make the same judgement calls,” he states. “The likelihood of you getting into a collision are much greater.”

The recent legalization of marijuana in Canada also poses a new threat to safety on the road.

“With the new cannabis laws being more relaxed, there’s a greater likelihood for people to be impaired by drugs,” explains Stafford.

According to the Government of Canada website, cannabis alone affects one's ability to drive by affecting motor skills, slowing reaction time, impairing short-term memory and concentration, causing drivers to vary in speed and wonder, and reducing the ability to make decisions quickly or handle unexpected events. 

New laws in New Brunswick are making the repercussions of impaired driving even greater.

“The province has now brought in a vehicle impoundment program for impaired-related offences,” says Stafford. “So when you’re stopped it’s not just a matter of being charged, it’s a matter of you can lose your vehicle immediately.’”

He says that driving while being under the legal limit also has its repercussions such as license suspension and vehicle impoundment.

“Zero is the best way to go,” he states.

Stafford explains that there are many alternatives to driving impaired such as taking a taxi, calling a friend or loved one, or staying the night.

“If you’re planning on having drinks, plan ahead and if you haven’t planned ahead, while you’re there and you’re starting to consume, stop and make the plan at that point,” he explains.

When asked if the same thing goes for cannabis, Cst. Stafford says, “absolutely”.