PILOT PROJECT - Drug Impaired Driving Saliva Testing

mouth being swabbedWould you care to volunteer a sample of saliva to test for drug use? This question might soon be part of an impaired driving investigation in Vancouver. Part of a federal pilot project to evaluate testing devices and to establish protocols for their use, volunteered saliva test results would not be used as part of court or administrative sanctions against the driver. Unfortunately, the story does not provide any indication of how the test results would equate with impairment or the accuracy of the instruments.

The current Criminal Code provisions allow a qualified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to demand a sample of saliva or urine for analysis:

Samples of bodily substances

254 (3.4) If, on completion of the evaluation, the evaluating officer has reasonable grounds to believe, based on the evaluation, that the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by a drug or by a combination of alcohol and a drug, the evaluating officer may, by demand made as soon as practicable, require the person to provide, as soon as practicable,

(a) a sample of either oral fluid or urine that, in the evaluating officer’s opinion, will enable a proper analysis to be made to determine whether the person has a drug in their body;

Volunteering a sample would permit an investigator that is not DRE qualified to deal with samples and would remove the threat of prosecution for non-compliance from the volunteer.