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Impaired driving.docx

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Carleton University
PSYC 3403
John Weekes

Impaired driving in Canada Background  In 1982 62% of drivers killed in crashes had been drinking. This lead to the public becoming less tolerant of impaired driving. Behavior changed and impaired driving deaths fell dramatically.  In spite of progress, 37.5% of drivers test positive for alcohol and 81% of alcohol positive cases have a blood alcohol concentration greater than 80 mg/dl.  However, there is a new problem emerging in the impaired driving field— drugs. Drugs are different and present more complex issues, they come with many research challenges which account for shortcomings in our knowledge of drug impaired driving. Why is drug impaired driving so complicated?  Drug impaired driving is so complicated because there are many different drugs, many different populations of users.  Moreover, poly-drug use can be difficult to detect because the physical effects differ depending on what drugs you have taken.  Unlike alcohol testing, drug testing requires urine samples, oral fluid samples, or blood samples.  These complexities require a different approach to enforcement and detection of drug-impaired drivers Magnitude of impaired driving problem Self-reported driving after alcohol and cannabis use  In 1988, 24.6 percent of Canadians reported driving after alcohol use and 2.1% reported driving after cannabis use.  By 2009, only 9% of Canadians reported driving after alcohol use and 2.8% reported driving after cannabis use.  So, we see a huge decrease in driving after using alcohol, and a slight increase in driving after cannabis use. Driving after drinking according to age  This study shows that as you get older, you are less likely to drive after using cannabis. However, it also shows that from 16-24 you are most likely to drive after drinking.  At age 25, you are much less likely (almost half as likely) to drive after drinking.  By age 45, you are only a bit more likely to drive after drinking than you were at 25.  Generally, a decrease in driving after drinking/cannabis use as age increases 2008 BC Roadside Survey  This survey involved administering breath tests and oral fluid tests on random drivers between 9pm and 3am.  10.4% tested positive for drugs. Of those that tested positive, 50% tested positive for cannabis, 39% tested positive for cocaine, and 8.1% tested positive for alcohol. Drug and alcohol positive cases by gender  Drug and alcohol positive cases are more likely to involve men than women, and are more likely to involve men using drugs other than alcohol. Drug and alcohol positive cases by age  Generally, a decrease in drug and alcohol positive cases among higher age groups. Fatally injured drivers in Canada  37.5% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol  32.7% tested positive for drugs. Of that 32.7%, the most common drug was CNS depressants and the least common were CSN stimulants.  It is important to note that the presence of a drug does not necessarily mean that the driver was impaired or that the drug contributed to the crash. Drug evaluation and classification program  This is a systematic, standardized 12-step procedure to document the extent of someone’s impairment and to identify the category of drug responsible.  This process involves observations, tests of divided attention, and clinical indicators.  This process ends with a demand for a urine, oral fluid, or blood sample to be tested for drugs. The 12 steps of a Drug Evaluation and Classification exam Breath alcohol test  This is a review of the subject’s breath alcohol concentration Interview with the arresting officer  This is an interview with the arresting officer to get a sense of the circumstances surrounding the subject’s arrest Preliminary examination  This is a preliminary examination to assess, in large part, whether the subject is suffering from an injury or a condition unrelated to drugs Eye examination  The Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) looks for telltale signs of impairment in the subject’s eyes. Some of the things he is looking for are horizontal gaze nystagmus, pupil size, lack of convergence, etc. Divided attention tests  The DRE administers tests like the one leg stand, and walk and turn tests. Vital signs  The DRE looks at things like the subject’s pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature for signs of drug intoxication Darkroom examinations  The DRE looks at pupil size, and pupil reaction to light Muscle tone  The DRE examines the subject’s muscle tone because some drugs can cause muscles to become rigid Injection sites  The DRE looks for signs of injection sites Subject’s statemen
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