B.C. cops ready to bring down high drivers

If you think you are liable to get away with driving while impaired by drugs in Princeton – think again.

The local RCMP detachment has recently trained a drug recognition expert to bring down high drivers.

Constable Grant Bernier underwent a 21-day program to qualify as a police expert.

“If we feel someone is impaired by something other than alcohol, we start with a battery of tests,” he said in a recent interview with The Spotlight.

“That’s what you would start with if you rule out impairment by alcohol with an oral roadside screening.”

The roadside examinations are similar to ones people might be familiar with from television, he explained, checking balance, focus and co-ordination.

If an officer then believes a driver is impaired by drugs, that person is moved to the detachment where Bernier conducts a more thorough examination that includes a blood pressure test.

“I have to make a professional opinion at that point as to whether they are impaired or not in their ability to operate a motor vehicle. And I also have to determine what category of drug they are affected by.”

After that Bernier makes a demand for a urine test.

It’s necessary to identify what drug is involved before the urine test, he said, so that a lab can be directed in what to look for.

There are different physical tells that are common to different types of drugs, he added.

“And the eyes are the window. I can always tell by the eyes.”

Two weeks ago the RCMP South Okanagan Traffic Services division conducted an enhanced impaired driving enforcement campaign in Penticton, Osoyoos, Oliver and Keremeos.

One driver was examined by a drug recognition expert and received a license suspension.

Ten tickets were written for possessing cannabis within a motor vehicle – which comes with a fine of $230, and six drivers impaired by alcohol were also taken off the highway.

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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