November 23, 2006

MADD Canada applauds new federal impaired driving measures

Oakville, Ontario – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada has applauded new impaired driving measures introduced by the federal government. The organization calls on all Members of Parliament to pass the legislation as soon as possible.

“This legislation will reduce the incidents of impaired driving in Canada,” says MADD National President Karen Dunham. “The legislation delivers on the promised drug-impaired driving framework so that police can effectively apprehend and charge drivers who are high on drugs. It goes further to provide important new measures for police at crash scenes and to close legal loopholes that are allowing impaired drivers to escape criminal convictions.”

The legislation, in part, provides police with tools to detect drug-impaired drivers; increases penalties for drug-impaired driving; it strengthens presumptions of breath and blood tests; and it promotes awareness about impaired driving.

“Canada appears to be the only country that throws out the results of the evidentiary breath and blood samples based on the unsubstantiated, self-serving testimony of an accused impaired driver,” says MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie. “We are very pleased to see the government limit these challenges.”

Murie says that the Carter Defence is based on the accused’s testimony that he or she consumed only a small amount of alcohol, such as “just a couple of drinks”. A toxicologist is then called to confirm that the accused’s BAC would be below 0.08 per cent if only two drinks were consumed. If the court accepts the accused’s consumption evidence, the scientific analysis of the accused’s breath or blood sample is then rejected.

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