Drug-Impaired Driving: Consultation Document


Currently for section 253(a) drug-impaired driving investigations, officers would usually rely upon symptoms of impairment and driving behaviour and witness testimony. If officers do not have specific drug assessment training, this task can be nearly impossible. Trained officers, who rely upon voluntary physical tests and voluntary bodily fluid samples, may not be able to follow their suspicions in many cases because the suspect can decline to participate voluntarily in the drug assessment testing and there is no legislated demand that officers can make to compel participation in the tests.

With drinking and driving investigations, the police may rely upon: observations of well-known symptoms of alcohol impairment and driving behaviour (for 253(a)), or breath/blood testing (for 253(b)), or both. If the officer has no grounds to believe that the individual is impaired by alcohol (that is, there is no indication of alcohol whether by admission or other observations), then the officer has no current authority to compel the individual to be tested in relation to drug impairment.

Currently, situations where blood would be demanded for alcohol testing from a conscious driver (that could be further tested for drugs) are relatively infrequent. Situations where a 256 warrant would be used to obtain blood from an unconscious driver for alcohol or drug testing are also rare.