Police in Toronto, Canada, have already begun testing two roadside screening prototypes designed to detect the recent presence of certain drugs present in motorists’ bodies.
The new devices are part of a project that tests how well officers will be able to use the devices on drivers (which depend on saliva) in different weather conditions.
Constable Clint Stibbe of the Toronto Police Service says that drivers who show signs of impairment will be arrested instead of being asked to test. Officers are required to make the call to test individuals before actually administering tests to determine impairment.
“The goal of this project is to see how well these devices work and if they can put into service by the Toronto Police Service as part of the drug screening protocols that may come into place once marijuana is legalized,” he said. “Anybody who takes part in this particular test, it is no risk to the driver.”
Unfortunately for police, Canadian Criminal Code would have to change before the data from the two devices -known as the Alere DDS 2 and the Securetec DrugWipe 5S- would be able to result in actual arrests.
“Before the Toronto Police Service can begin using the devices in actual enforcement situations, there would need to be legislative changes to allow roadside drug screening to become part of the drug-impaired-driving regime,” TPS said in a news release. “None of these devices has been approved for use in the field to aid in the formation of grounds to lay any type of charges. Further, none of these devices has been validated as police equipment.”
The devices are reported to be able to detect the presence of cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine and opioids.
Currently, anyone who takes the test during trial phases will do so voluntarily and will not have their results used as evidence for prosecution.
Six police forces in all are taking part in the project. The others include police in Vancouver, Halifax, Quebec, Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP.
Public Safety Minister Parliamentary Secretary Michel Picard says the testing will determine the best practices and procedures while determining how to best field the device.
“The intent is really to evaluate the performance of the device in the field,” Picard told CBC. “We do need efficient devices to work with to make sure we can apply the proper measure of control in cases where we can effectively establish that there is intoxication that leads to drug impaired driving.”
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