More Training to Detect Impaired Driving for Police

With the holidays around the corner, many of us will be out and about visiting family and friends; celebrations that may include alcoholic beverages or cannabis. Impaired driving increases over the holidays, please arrange for a designated driver or call a cab if you consume alcohol or cannabis this holiday season. 

Last week, Minister of Justice, Hon. Mark Furey, announced a program that will see more Nova Scotia police officers trained to detect impaired driving. The program is supported by both the provincial and federal governments. 

“Road safety is a top priority in Nova Scotia and our police agencies are well-positioned to combat impaired driving,” said Mr. Furey. “With cannabis legalization, and new, tougher federal legislation coming into force, we want to further increase our resources. By training even more front-line officers, we are sending a strong message that driving while impaired will not be tolerated.”

The training plan and the four-officer team that will deliver it, is being supported through $4.5 million over five years from the federal government. The team includes one officer from the Bridgewater Police Service, Cape Breton Regional Police Service, Halifax Regional Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This team will deliver training to all police agencies.

When a police officer suspects a driver is impaired, whether by drugs or alcohol, they may use observations or tests to determine impairment. Nova Scotia now has 342 officers trained to give the field sobriety test. Through this program, all front-line officers in Nova Scotia will be trained or recertified.

A Drug Recognition Expert evaluation includes steps similar to the sobriety test, along with indicators like blood pressure, body temperature and pulse, as well as measuring pupil size. Drug recognition tests are typically administered at a police station. Nova Scotia currently has 74 officers to conduct them. Through this training program, up to 85 front-line officers will be trained or recertified.