British Columbia

Breathalyzer review finds 14 invalid cases in 2011

A review of breathalyzer tests that resulted in immediate roadside prohibitions in Port Moody, B.C., in 2011 found that about eight per cent of the tests were invalid because the devices weren't properly calibrated.
A review of the breathalyzer tests that led the Port Moody Police Department to issue immediate roadside prohibitions in 2011 found that about 8 per cent of the tests were invalid due to improper device calibration. (CBC)

A review of breathalyzers used by police in Port Moody, B.C., in 2011 indicates over a dozen of the devices were not properly calibrated.

The accuracy of the meters was first investigated by the Office of the Police Complaints Commission.

The Port Moody Police Department then hired an independent forensic scientist to check the department's screening devices and ensure they were properly calibrated.

The investigation showed 14 of the 174 immediate roadside prohibitions issued in 2011 were performed on faulty devices.

The Port Moody Police Department said it has advised the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles of the 14 invalid tests.

Reimbursements coming says minister

Justice Minister Shirley Bond said British Columbians expect impaired drivers to be taken off the road, but it has to be done fairly. She confirmed officials will work as quickly as they can to reimburse the 14 drivers for any fines or fees.

"Those individuals will have their records cleared and in fact we are looking at the requirement to reimburse.... We want to be fair about this."

She also confirmed the issue of calibration has now been dealt with across the province.

"And I should be very clear about this, I am not happy that this happened," she added.

The calibration issue first came to light in 2010 when police across B.C. recalled thousands of breathalyzers for testing.