RCMP photo

Red Deer RCMP conduct checkstop with mandatory alcohol screening law coming into effect

Red Deer RCMP conducted its first checkstop Tuesday under the new mandatory alcohol screening law, which came into effect the same day.

Cpl. and traffic services team leader Michael Zufferli said the checkstop started at 2:25 p.m. near 19th Street and the Westerner Park area.

About 50 cars were flagged by the RCMP and drivers were asked to provide a breath sample.

Federal legislation for mandatory alcohol screening allows police to demand a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop. The earlier threshold required reasonable suspicion the person had been drinking.

The federal 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.

Of the 50 cars that were stopped, four drivers tested positive for alcohol, but they were driving “well within the legal limit,” Zufferli said Wednesday.

The remaining drivers did not test positive for alcohol.

“Everyone was aware of it, nobody was overly shocked. They knew it was coming and were happy to comply,” Zufferli added.

Red Deer residents can expect to spend about 90 seconds once they’re waved over by the RCMP and are driving within the legal limits.

Officers will use the same device to gather breath samples as they did before.

As always, police are looking to check registration, insurance status along with alcohol sobriety, Zufferli said.

Results of the checkstop might be different if conducted at a different time, say, 11 or 8 p.m. at night, Zufferli said.

Checkstops will continue during the holiday season in the City of Red Deer.

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

– With files from The Canadian Press

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