Wednesday, 20 Jan 2021

Calgary police search for impaired drivers with series of post-legalization checkstops

It’s been just over a week since marijuana legalization, but Calgary police say its business as usual.

“We’re always looking for some kind of indicia that a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired, whether that is with alcohol or with drugs,” acting Sgt. Chris Agren told Global News at a checkstop near downtown on Friday.

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Calgary police are conducting checkstops all weekend long across the city. Police haven’t issued a single ticket for cannabis impaired driving, but they do expect that to change. Officials said they’ll continue to watch for all types of impairment on city streets.

“We’ve been looking for both (cannabis and alcohol) and all other signs of impairment all along, whether that’s being too tired or prescription drugs,” Agren said.

WATCH: What Calgary police are doing to stop people from driving high

According to Agren, Calgary police officers went through additional training leading up to the Oct. 17 legalization date, so they would be prepared to be able to spot people who are driving high.

“Generally, bloodshot or glossy eyes, obviously the smell, impaired motor skills, slurring of speech,” Agren said. “When the window opens and you’re speaking with a member of the public who’s driving, where is the evidence going to take you? Are you looking at indicia for alcohol or are you looking at indices for drug impairment; based on what is presented to us is where we investigate and how we investigate.”

Watch below: How do officers test drivers they suspect are impaired? Cpl. Richard Nowak with the Alberta RCMP puts on a demonstration of the standardized field sobriety test. He said it’s effective in testing people who may be impaired by alcohol and drugs.

The one big difference between alcohol impaired driving, is the lack of a pre-screening device that detects cannabis. Officers can conduct a standard field sobriety test, and depending on the results, a drug impairment expert can be brought in.

Police also said they’ve received positive feedback from drivers at the post-legalization checkstops.

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