NIAGARA REGIONAL POLICE
On Tuesday, Dec. 18, members of the Niagara Regional Police conducted RIDE spot checks in the Town of Grimsby and the City of Welland as part of the festive RIDE season. This day marked the beginning of vast changes to our criminal impaired driving offences, as well as the new mandatory roadside alcohol screening.
Mandatory roadside alcohol screening authorizes police to demand a breath sample from any driver that is lawfully pulled over by police. This new enforcement tool will significantly increase the number of drivers who are screened for impaired driving and in turn will help to prevent collisions, deaths and injuries on our roadways. It's important for the public to know that the chances of getting caught for impaired driving will be high, now that any driver can be demanded to provide a breath sample after any lawful traffic stop.
Previously, drivers often denied having consumed alcohol or disguised their breath to police. This made it difficult for police officers to form reasonable suspicion to require the driver to provide a breath sample. Now, officers are able to make the breath demand for any lawful stop.
Even though these changes are new to residents living in Canada, most countries across Europe have recognized the benefits of mandatory alcohol screening and have seen the overall reduction of collisions and fatalities. This new law is a powerful deterrent to impaired driving and will make roads safer as a result.
During the course of the evening, police spoke with approximately 800 drivers who entered the RIDE spot checks. Only a few drivers had admitted to consuming alcohol; however each one of these drivers were requested to provide a breath sample. In addition to these drivers, officers randomly selected vehicles to stop and each one of these drivers took part in the mandatory alcohol screening.
In total, police obtained breath readings from 85 drivers. As a result, the drivers from two of these randomly selected vehicles provide a breath sample that fell into the warning range and subsequently received a three day suspension.
In addition to these suspensions, officers issued a dozen traffic tickets, including one driver who was operating their vehicle while under a suspension.
The Niagara Regional Police want to remind each driver, that as long as they are lawfully stopped by police, they must provide a sample of their breath for analysis if they are requested to by the officer. The ultimate goal of mandatory alcohol screening is to reduce injuries and fatalities, which destroys thousands of lives each year.
This initiative has been made possible, in part, as a result of grant funding from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services as part of the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) program.