Article by Canadian Underwriter
One in 10 Manitoba drivers who participated in voluntary roadside surveys conducted last fall tested positive for drugs, according to the recently released survey findings.
Manitoba Crown Services Minister Ron Schuler and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) announced the findings of the Manitoba Drug and Alcohol Roadside Survey last week, the purpose of which was to establish a baseline for current drug and alcohol usage on Manitoba roadways. Of the 1,230 drivers who participated in the survey, 124 tested positive for some drug, MPI said in a press release.
In particular, 53% of drivers with drugs in their systems tested positive for cannabis, 31% for cocaine, 12% for opioids, and 2% each for benzodiazepines and amphetamines/methamphetamines. Twenty-two per cent of these drivers tested positive for more than one drug, MPI added in the release.
“Survey results are a clear indication that despite significant education and enforcement efforts, many Manitoba drivers continue to operate motor vehicles while impaired by drugs or alcohol,” Schuler said in the release. “Our government has committed to making legislative changes in response to the legalization of recreational use of marijuana and these results will help guide not only messaging related to the dangers of drug and alcohol use while driving, they will also provide a baseline from which we will measure the effects of both legislative changes and future enforcement efforts.”
Prairie Research Associates were contracted by MPI in the fall of 2016 to conduct anonymous, voluntary roadside surveys to measure drug and alcohol use while driving. This initiative involved the collection of breath and oral fluid samples – which were immediately destroyed after testing – to measure level of alcohol and screen for specific drugs, the insurer said in the release.