Half of 24-hour licence suspensions in Alberta due to drug impairment

Click to play video: 'Jordan Witzel wears a Drugged Driving Suit' Jordan Witzel wears a Drugged Driving Suit
WATCH: Leanna Kruk joins Global Calgary with a look at a special Drugged Driving Suit being used to raise awareness and road safety – Mar 9, 2016

Drug impairment led to nearly half of all 24-hour licence suspensions in Alberta last year, the province said Friday.

In 2012, across Canada, drugs were detected in 40 per cent of fatally injured drivers, a study by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation found.

Alberta was slightly higher than the national average. Eighty-two drivers who were killed in collisions in 2012 tested positive for drugs (41 per cent). That same year, 71 fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol. Thirty-four had both alcohol and drugs in their system.

READ MORE: ‘Drugged Driving Suit’ simulates the physical impact of drug impairment 

“It comes as a surprise to many people that drunk driving and drugged driving carry the same criminal charges,” Alberta Minister of Transportation Brian Mason said. “This is because both substances impair a driver’s ability and increase the likelihood of being involved in a collision.”

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The province said anything that impairs your ability to drive – alcohol or drugs, whether legal or illegal – can result in an impaired driving charge.

WATCH: Jordan Witzel wears a Drugged Driving Suit 

“Impaired driving is Canada’s leading cause of criminal death in Canada,” Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD Canada, said. “The number of drugs present in motor vehicle fatalities in Canada continues to grow. It is absolutely essential that when you are using drugs that you not drive and create that risk of death or injury to yourself or others.”

A 2014 Driver Attitude Survey showed just over half (55 per cent) of Albertans make other driving arrangements when they have taken drugs that can affect their ability to drive.

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