New federal legislation will give Lakeland RCMP a leg up catching intoxicated drivers. On December 18th Bill C-46 will come into effect which will allow the police to request a breathalyzer test regardless if they believe the person is too drunk to be behind the wheel or not. Cold Lake RCMP Sergeant Ryan Howrish says the old law required a little judgement by the officer.
“In previous history, the RCMP in our legislation said we would have to have a reasonable suspicion to put anybody on an alcohol screening device.”
The law comes into effect as Checkstop season begins around the Lakeland. The RCMP is urging those who may be enjoying parties this Christmas season to find a safe way home, take a taxi or sleep it off. Howrish says the new law will make it very easy to get caught if you decide to drive drunk.
“So long as I have a reasonable legal stop I can, without any supporting information, request that you provide a sample of your breath on an alcohol screening device.”
Drivers who refuse to provide the sample may face criminal charges. Mounties will also be able to conduct roadside testing for the presence of marijuana and other drugs using saliva. Those tests will not be random and will be under the discretion of the police officer.