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Impaired driving by drug charges up 150 per cent in Toronto: police

Last Updated May 9, 2016 at 7:32 pm EDT

New numbers from Toronto police suggest more people are getting behind the wheel while high compared to last year.

Impaired driving by drug charges in Toronto are up 150 per cent from this time last year, police said. Ten drivers were charged this time last year compared to 25 so far this year, as of last week.

Police also said the number of alcohol-related charges have dipped by around seven per cent – 431 impaired driving charges so far this year, as of last week, compared to 464 this time last year.

Police believe some drivers may be switching from alcohol to drugs because the latter is harder to spot.

“People are maybe trying to shift away from the common thing, which is the alcohol, maybe to move to something that’s maybe less obvious, which is the drug,” Const. Clint Stibbe told 680 NEWS.

Currently, drivers impaired by drugs face criminal charges but do not face automatic licence suspension like drunk drivers do. However, that will take place this fall when upgraded laws take effect.

“You will still face criminal charges, but your licence won’t be suspended as a result of impairment by drug. […] “You’re under the same requirements to produce samples as under an alcohol impairment. So in the end, you’ll still get caught, you’ll still be charged and you’ll still go to court,” Stibbe said.

“But by the fall of this year, those suspensions and sanctions will be in place, similar or actually identical to what the alcohol impairment is. The laws are changing.”