April 12th, 2024

RCMP in Saskatchewan implements mandatory roadside blood-alcohol screening

By Medicine Hat News on April 2, 2024.

@MedicineHatNews

RCMP officers in Saskatchewan began instituting mandatory blood-alcohol testing on Monday.

The practice, allowing a police officer to administer a roadside alcohol screening to drivers they pull over for any reason, has been available since criminal code changes in 2018. Police forces in Alberta began such screenings almost immediately afterward.

A release from Saskatchewan’s head detachment on March 21 states the move aims to reduce drunk driving.

“The certainty of a Mandatory Alcohol Screening is to help discourage those consuming alcohol from getting behind the wheel,” said Supt. Grant St. Germaine, the officer in charge of Saskatchewan RCMP Traffic Services. “It goes without saying that someone’s ability to mask their impairment should not be the determining factor if someone gets home safely to their family each night.”

The release states that in 2023 more than 1,700 drivers in Saskatchewan were charged with impaired driving. One third of fatal collisions involved alcohol.

Refusing the roadside test could result in a separate charge of failing to comply with a police officer.

Driving above the legal limit can result in a criminal code conviction, impounded vehicles, licence suspension, a minimum fine of $2,250 and demerit points that affect insurance rates.

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