The raids and checkpoints are a normal thing now on Canadian roads. Under the new law, no one has the right to refuse a request to prove his sobriety if lawfully stopped.
Police officers in Canada who lawfully stop a driver no longer need any additional grounds to demand a breathalyzer test.
The new amendments to the Criminal Code, which are effective since Tuesday, December 18th give law enforcement officers more authority in checking drivers for alcohol in the hope of reducing the level of drunk driving and the number of fatal accidents.
Previously, when a driver was stopped at a checkpoint or for breaking traffic rules, a police officer required reasonable suspicion to request a breath pattern to determine the alcohol concentration in the blood.
Suspicion could be caused by the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, or strange driver behavior.
“Officers will no longer have to voice this suspicion,” said Chad Morrison from the Nova Scotia RCMP.
"If an officer is on the side of the road with a vehicle, he will automatically have the right to require any driver to provide a sample of his breath."
However, some legal experts believe that the new legislation may be challenged in the courts for its wide application. According to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, “everyone has the right to protection against unreasonable search or detention”.
The new rules may lead to a backlog in the legal system, as the lower courts are waiting for the higher courts to decide on possible violations of the constitutionality of the law, he said.
Civil rights organizations also sounded alarmed about the new rules, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association expressed concern that mandatory screening for alcohol would unfairly affect racial minorities that the police disproportionately allocate for stoppages.
The Festive Checkstop Program runs over the entire month of December, including New Year’s Eve. Drivers can expect to see more police on the streets.
Unfortunately, a lot of those drivers are teenagers, who are not just irresponsible to their own vehicles and lives, but to other people’s health and lives as well. Some drivers just really don’t care about the rules and driving regulations, they do not care for their own safety and their passengers, friends and family members.
Last weekend in Winnipeg launched a new program to identify drivers who use cannabis or cocaine, using modern detectors Drager DrugTest 5000. In the process of preparation, the police service has acquired - and is currently engaged in training officers - new mobile devices for drug screening.
According to the information on the manufacturer’s website, Drager DrugTest 5000 uses oral fluid to test seven types of the most commonly used drugs. The police will use it to test for cannabis and cocaine.
Drager uses a swab moistened in the mouth to analyze substances on the spot, offering an alternative to collecting urine or blood samples, according to the instrument manual.
The police service bought seven such testers for $ 5000 each and brought them to the provinces on Saturday, December 1st. They will be used along with standard breath testers to determine alcohol. In addition, the police will use other drug screening equipment as additional tools to identify drivers affected by cannabis or cocaine.
The program will work every day throughout December. So fellow Winnipeggers please don’t text and drive, keep our roads safe and easy to drive. Let’s all be responsible drivers and care for each other, so at the end of the day, we can all come back home to our loved ones.