Reformed law enables police to breath-test any stopped driver

Part 2 of Bill C-46 went into effect on Dec. 18, enabling police to demand breath samples from any lawfully-stopped driver. (Lakes District News file photo)

Following just two weeks after the Dec. 1-7 National Safe Driving Week, a recently reformed-law makes it harder for Christmas party-goers under the influence of alcohol to drive home unnoticed.

LOOK BACK: Holiday season means Chilliwack RCMP crackdown on impaired driving

Part 2 of Bill C-46 – relating to impaired driving – went into effect on Dec. 18 and authorizes police to demand breath samples at the roadside from drivers lawfully stopped.

Part 1 of the bill came into force on June 21 and focused on drug-impaired driving.

The new regulations serve as “new tools to utilize in our efforts to remove impaired drivers from our roads and keep our communities safer,” RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Mike Halskov told Lakes District News.

“Mandatory breath testing is not a new concept…mandatory roadside breath testing is expected to catch those who would have otherwise slipped past an officer for one reason or another,” he said.

According to Department of Justice statistics, impaired driving is the main criminal cause of death and injury in Canada and in 2017 there were more than 69,000 impaired driving incidents reported by police.

The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) states that four Canadians are killed and 175 are injured every day on average in impairment related accidents.

Between 1,250 and 1,500 people are killed and 63,000 injured every year from these accidents, MADD research says.

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