Police to conduct mandatory alcohol screening at Calgary Checkstops
Changes to Canada’s impaired driving laws go into effect on Tuesday and Calgary police will be conducting mandatory alcohol screening at Checkstops starting this week.
Mandatory alcohol screening (MAS) is part of Bill C-46 and allows police officers with approved screening devices to test a breath sample from any driver that they lawfully stop without reasonable suspicion of alcohol use.
Calgary police will implement the changes starting on Tuesday and will ask all drivers that go through a Checkstop for a preliminary breath sample.
“It’s certainly going to increase the risk, which is going to reduce the instance of impaired driving because everybody will know that if you’ve had any alcohol and you’re pulled into a traffic stop, initially, the Calgary Police Service is only going to be doing it on Checkstops, that you know that you’re going to have to provide a breath sample so I think it’s going to make people more conscious of how much they’ve consumed,” said Constable Andrew Fairman with the Calgary Police Service Traffic Section.
Drivers will be given instructions on how to blow into the Alcohol Screening Device (ASD) and will provide the breath sample while still in their vehicles.
If no alcohol is present, the driver will be asked for their licence, registration and insurance, which is part of the regular traffic stop process.
MAS is being used in more than 40 countries and in Ireland the technology has been credited with reducing the number of deaths by about 40 per cent in the first four years of its use.
“My hope is that we’re going to see fewer people dead on our roads or seriously injured on our roads,” said Fariman.
The Calgary Police Service’s Traffic Section will start applying MAS during traffic stops starting in the New Year.
According to the Department of Justice, research shows that up to 50 per cent of drivers impaired by alcohol are not detected at roadside checks.
Officials say mandatory alcohol screening will help to deter people who are impaired by alcohol from driving and it will also assist in detecting those who do.
“By testing everybody this is going to significantly increase the number of people that we take off the road who are going to be a danger to both you and me on those roadways,” Fairman said.
Officials say 718 people sustained serious injuries or were killed in impaired driving incidents in Canada in 2015.
For more information on Mandatory Alcohol Screening, click HERE.