Since Dec. 18, 2018, officers with Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and Enoch RCMP have made 13 arrests for impaired driving; nine of which came from the new mandatory alcohol screening legislation.
The new rules surrounding mandatory alcohol screening (MAS) came into effect on Dec. 18, 2018.
The changes, brought in under Bill-C46, mean law enforcement across the country can demand a breathalyzer test even if a motorist is showing no signs of alcohol impairment. Before then, police officers needed reasonable grounds to conduct a breath test, such as bloodshot eyes, slurring, the smell of alcohol, a driver stumbling or admitting they’d been drinking.
WATCH BELOW (Oct. 17, 2018) Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale discusses the tools that law enforcement will be using to combat impaired driving now that cannabis is legal.
In a news release Thursday, Stony Plain RCMP explained they’ve been pulling drivers over for various traffic offences but, because of the new rules, some people are getting more than just traffic tickets.
“Between Dec. 18, 2018 and Jan. 23, 2019, drivers provided breath samples that ranged in blood alcohol concentration from the legal limit of 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood to 180 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, to one case of more than four times the legal limit,” RCMP said.
One case in particular stood out to police. It involved a woman who police said blew four times over the legal limit while driving with her children in the vehicle.
RCMP were responding to an unrelated collision in Spruce Grove on Jan. 20. The woman was pulled over for a traffic infraction and while there was no suspicion of impairment, RCMP administered a MAS test and the driver failed.
In fact, she provided breath samples later on and they were more than four times the legal limit, RCMP said.
“The brief delay experienced by those legally using our roads will be their contribution to saving thousands of lives in Canada every year,” Insp. Mike Lokken said.
“Members are reporting favorable comments from residents during our continuing check stops. Our goal is to detect impaired drivers, get these drivers off of our roads and keep our community safe.”
WATCH BELOW: Dec. 5, 2018: The federal government is bringing in a strict new law later this month that will give police broad new powers against impaired drivers. Whitney Oickle reports.