RCMP says it is prepared for new breath test rules; are you?

Leader staff

On December 18, federal Bill C-46 came into effect. It deals largely with impaired driving-related offences. The new law had only been in effect for a few hours when it was applied in Slave Lake.

According to Town of Slave Lake Peace Officer Mark Becker, a town PO stopped somebody in town who was going 44 kilometres over the speed limit. RCMP also attended, and sure enough, the person was found to be over the limit. Not only that, there was an open bottle of rum handy to the driver.

Bill C-46 includes new criminal impaired driving offences for drivers under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. It authorizes the use of oral testing for drugs and specifies specific blood concentration limits.

Bill C-46 authorizes police to conduct Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS). Previously, officers would require reasonable suspicion that a driver had alcohol in their system. This threshold is no longer required. Officers can now obtain breath samples from every driver who is lawfully stopped so long as they have the screening device on hand. So, every driver who is lawfully stopped will be asked to provide a breath sample.

“Locally, we are prepared for this change with the exception of oral drug testing (that is still being researched at the National level),” says Slave Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. John Spaans. “All of our members are trained on the roadside screening device and each member will have the equipment on hand.”

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