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Mandatory alcohol screening takes effect next week

(Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — As part of new legislation outlined in Bill C-46, RCMP will be conducting mandatory alcohol screenings during traffic stops starting on December 18.

The test will help ensure there are fewer drunk drivers on the roads as the holiday season gets into full swing and fits with the RCMP’s mission to snuff out all instances of impaired driving.

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Sergeant Brent Robinson is an impaired driving specialist with the RCMP K-Division in Alberta, and he says the test is non-discriminatory and will be used as widely as possible.

“When we lawfully pull over a car, we get to walk up to the driver, read them a short little demand — which will be two lines –, and then we obtain his breath sample and depending on the results it depends on which enforcement action we take.”

It’s quite a bit different from the normal process for officers, who would need to first have suspicion of impairment before issuing a breathalyzer.

“It’s quick. Compared to the current system, which could take up to half an hour, this mandatory alcohol screening will be done in two to three minutes,” said Sgt. Robinson. “Whereas the people before us slipped through the cracks, for lack of better words, because in their short interaction with them, the officer couldn’t observe enough signs to form a suspicion that he had alcohol in his body. That just removes that step.”

Police hope this will encourage more people to plan ahead by finding alternative transportation before drinking and driving, as it will be much harder to avoid detection.

On December 1, RCMP and Alberta Sheriffs participated in National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day and laid 23 charges for impaired driving in that single day.