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Police back mandatory alcohol screening

New legislation taking effect on Dec. 18 allows alcohol testing of all drivers legally stopped
Mandatory alcohol screening will take effect on Dec. 18. Police support the initiative that allows all drivers legally pulled over to be tested for alcohol or drugs. Black Press file photo

Mandatory alcohol screening works, say police.

“A large and credible international evidence base suggests (mandatory alcohol screening) is one of the most effective road safety measures available and that it has resulted in significant and sustained reductions in impaired driving and related deaths and injuries,” says Chief Mark Neufeld, president of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police.

Alberta RCMP held a news conference in Edmonton on Monday afternoon to discuss Bill C-46, which allows mandatory alcohol screening, which takes effect Dec. 18. The new legislation allows police to demand a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop. The current threshold requires reasonable suspicion the person has been drinking.

The government says the aim of the law is to reduce carnage on the roads by helping police catch drivers with more than the legal limit of alcohol in their bloodstream.


Red Deer RCMP ready for mandatory alcohol screening

“The RCMP is committed to using (mandatory alcohol screening) in an equitable and non-discriminatory fashion for consideration in every interaction with drivers,” says the national police force in a statement.

“The RCMP is confident that the test can be completed within the regular compliance check that normally takes a few minutes.”

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Police point to a recent safety blitz as evidence more enforcement will pay off. A Canade-wide initiative called National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day saw Alberta sheriffs and RCMP officers check 11,895 vehicles.

As a result, 23 drivers were charged with drunk driving and two faced charges of impaired driving from drugs.

Red Deer RCMP said last week they are ready for when the law comes into effect. They will use the same alcohol testing device they’ve been using for years.

Mandatory alcohol screening is currently in place in more than 40 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.