A drug-impaired driver receives 24-hour suspension of her car from Saanich Police on Friday night.

A drug-impaired driver receives 24-hour suspension of her car from Saanich Police on Friday night.

EDITORIAL: Tougher laws for impaired driving

Two legal changes over the past year could affect the celebrations on New Year's Eve

In a few days, it will be time to mark the passing of the old year and the beginning of the new year.

New Year’s Eve tends to be a time for celebration.

It’s a time to look back on what happened in 2018 and celebrate the accomplishments of the past year.

And it’s a time when many will make resolutions and plans to make 2019 the best possible year.

Two legal changes over the past year could affect the celebrations on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

The first is the legalization of cannabis, which took effect in October.

The second is new, tougher legislation affecting impaired driving which came into effect on Dec. 18.

Bill C-46 means tougher impaired driving legislation.

Under the new screening provisions, police may be able to demand a breath sample from a driver without having to have reasonable grounds to suspect the driver is impaired.

The tougher screening measures should not be seen as something new and unexpected.

In 2017, there were more than 69,000 impaired driving incidents reported by police in Canada, including almost 3,500 incidents of drug-impaired driving.

Some of these incidents have been fatal accidents.

At the same time, attitudes surrounding impaired driving have changed over the past few decades and the impaired driving rate has been decreasing. This is a positive trend.

While the new measures may seem like an inconvenience for some, it is far better to have strict impaired driving laws in place than to have the new year start with a tragic accident.

The end of the old year and the start of the new year is cause for celebration.

If these celebrations are kept safe, it should mean a good start to the year for everyone.

Summerland Review

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