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RCMP doing mandatory breathalyzer tests in Yukon

Police in Yukon will be administering mandatory breathalyzer tests at roadside check stops until the first week of January.

Police allowed to demand breathalyzer without suspicion of impaired driving

An RCMP officer performs a breathalyzer test on a driver during a roadside check in Surrey, B.C., in 2010. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Yukon RCMP will be administering mandatory breathalyzer tests at roadside check stops this holiday season.

RCMP Const. Louis Allain said Yukoners should be prepared to take a test if they are on the road and go through a check stop. The mandatory tests started in late November and will go through the first week of January.

"Most people are actually excited because this is the first time they actually get to blow into one," said Allain, who works in Whitehorse.

So far during the Yukon initiative, Allain says officers have suspended drivers' licences and found impaired drivers at every check stop.

He said the breathalyzer tests are being used for safety reasons during COVID-19. Officers are trying to keep a distance due to COVID-19, he said, which can inhibit their sense of smell during check stops.

"That is why we are using this mandatory screening provision, because that allows us to check sobriety while maintaining somewhat of a distance from the public to be safe," he said.

The federal government gave police more powers in impaired driving screening in December 2018. The new rules allow officers to demand a breathalyzer test from any driver who is lawfully stopped, even one who is not suspected of impaired driving. Up to that point, police had to have a reasonable suspicion of impaired driving if they wanted to demand a breathalyzer test. 

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