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LET’S CRACK DOWN ON DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVERS

By Alfa, Mar 12, 2005 | |
  1. Alfa
    LET'S CRACK DOWN ON DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVERS


    One Of Pot-Smoking Granny's Worst Crimes Was Not Securing Kids


    Over-The-Counter Medcines Also Pose Threat To Everyone


    The year is still young but we already have a candidate for the Dumbest Driver of the Year Award: a grandmother who was caught smoking marijuana while driving, with her grandkids in the car.


    Durham Regional Police stopped a woman in Oshawa because she had an expired licence plate, then discovered she'd allegedly been puffing on pot while driving her uninsured car with her two young grandchildren along for the ride -- neither of whom was in a child car seat or wearing a seatbelt.


    The woman was charged with several Highway Traffic Act offences, plus possession of a controlled substance.


    Brings a whole new meaning to "taking a trip with Granny," doesn't it?


    So, she had enough cash to buy dope but not to pay for her licence plate sticker or car insurance.


    That's just bad prioritizing.


    But not buckling up the grandkids is reprehensible, and smoking up while driving with those two in the car is both inexcusable and criminal.


    Drug-driving, drug-impaired driving, DUID -- whatever you call it -- is a serious problem and we need to get serious about stopping it and prosecuting people stupid enough to do it.


    Don't think it's a widespread problem?


    According to the 2003 Ontario Student Drug Use Survey, the percentage of drivers in grades 10 to 12 who admitted to driving a vehicle within one hour of using cannabis (20 per cent) is higher than those who admitted to driving within an hour of consuming two or more drinks (14 per cent).


    Add that small sample to other teens across the country, and then factor in the 20-somethings on up to the toking grannies (medicinal purposes or otherwise).


    And we haven't even mentioned those drivers using cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, barbiturates, or some other drug of choice.


    Then there's the whole crowd of people taking over-the-counter medicines who scoff at the warning: "May cause drowsiness. Do not operate heavy machinery."


    And let's not forget the many prescription-drug users who swallow medications with little or no thought as to the possible side effects.


    Many standard medications can affect one's ability to drive. For example:


    Roche USA, maker of the prescription acne drug Accutane, warns on the company website about decreased night vision, sometimes sudden, and advises patients to be cautious when driving or operating any vehicle at night.


    First-generation antihistamines such as diphenhydramine or clemastine, frequently taken for colds and allergies, have long been known to significantly impair driving capacity.


    Other research has shown that the timing of doses of methylphenidate, a common attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication, can affect adolescent drivers' performance.

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