With the legalization of cannabis and the new impaired driving laws being put into effect, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are both pleased and wary.

Denise Dubyk, Vice-President on the Calgary board of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says that when marijuana was legalized, MADD concentrated on spreading awareness.

"As far as MADD is concerned, with the legalization of cannabis, our main priority is to ensure that the awareness and education are out there so that people are aware that being impaired by drugs, not just alcohol, is something that is preventable on the roads and shouldn't happen."

The new impaired driving laws that allow mandatory alcohol screenings were something that MADD has always supported

"MADD is definitely in support of mandatory alcohol screening. This is something that MADD has been speaking with the government (about) since the late '90s and trying to have this in Canada because we know that it lowers the fatalities, crashes, and injuries on the road (due) to impaired driving. It has been proven in many other countries around the world. In Canada, we believe and there's research to show this, that we would see a reduction of at least 20% across our country."

In the future, MADD and Dubyk wish for more harsh sentences for any impaired driving situations that result in an injury or a fatality.

"When I see the shorter sentences, I realize that judges must go by precedent or other cases that the defense brings forward or the crown brings forward, however, a higher sentence is something else that MADD has been advocating for. It needs to be enough of a penalty to deter from making the choice of driving impaired by either alcohol or drugs."

As far as the legalization of cannabis goes, Dubyk looks forward to the point when RCMP will be able to screen for drugs as easily as alcohol.

"MADD is looking forward to police forces across the country being able to test for cannabis in an easy and efficient manner. We will continue to advocate to get the proper equipment out there and feel safe."


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