Winnipeg police aim to crack down on impaired driving with new mandatory alcohol testing

The Winnipeg Police Service hope drivers think twice about drinking with officers no longer required to have reasonable suspicion to do a roadside breath test.
A driver gives a breath test at a roadside traffic stop. (CBC)

Police across the country will now have the ability to stop and test any driver for potential alcohol consumption without needing reasonable suspicion any longer.

The Winnipeg Police Service's impaired driving countermeasures co-ordinator Const. Stefane Fontaine said previously police needed at least two reasons to pull over a driver before Dec. 18.

Also previously, officers needed to have a reasonable suspicion a driver had alcohol in their body while operating a vehicle to be able to demand a roadside breath test. Now, any person that refuses to co-operate with the breathalyzer test could be charged with a criminal offence.

The new mandatory alcohol testing is a part of Bill C-46, which was passed by the federal government earlier this year. 

Fontaine said the new legislation requires officers to have the breath test device in hand when approaching a vehicle. But he added that testing each car will not take more than a few minutes.

"We're hoping that this is another deterrence to think twice when you decide to try to go out and consume alcohol and ultimately drive." Fontaine said.

Police are already in the midst of the roadside checkstop program, which means an increased number of officers are on the road and more roadblocks will be setup.


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