Laws surrounding impaired driving in Alberta have made some radical shifts over the past few years. More specifically, Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) came into effect in the province in 2018. That change only impacted individuals going through check stops, but as of now every driver pulled over in Calgary will be breathalyzed immediately. This is in hopes to target Calgary impaired driving

The Calgary Police Service released a news statement today, Thursday, January 30, to inform the public that “all drivers in Calgary can now expect to provide a breath sample when they are pulled over by Calgary police for a traffic stop or Checkstop.”

Therefore, this does not just apply to Checkstops, it also applies to any time you may be pulled over in the city while driving.

If you’re on your phone, speeding, or making any sort of driving infraction, you will need to provide a breath sample the second you roll that window down.

“Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death in Canada,” said Const. Andrew Fairman, with the Alcohol and Drug Recognition Unit in the news release. “We all want to do our part to reduce the tragic impact of impaired driving.” 

The release also explains that since police started conducting MAS back in 2018, they have taken over 15,600 samples in Calgary which resulted in 142 Criminal Code charges along with 359 provincial sanctions.

We can expect these numbers to increase substantially as they no longer apply only to MAS at Checkstops.

According to Criminal Code Section 320.27(2), officers with approved screening devices are allowed to test anyone for impaired driving, “even without reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body,” the release explains.

It goes on to describe what this will look like for Calgary drivers.

Apparently drivers who are pulled over will be approached by an officer who will say “This is a Mandatory Alcohol Screening. You are required to immediately provide a breath sample.”

The driver will then blow into the Alcohol Screening Device (ASD) which takes less than two minutes.

If there’s no alcohol present, the traffic stop will commence as per usual.

Alberta drivers have been caught reading books behind the wheel in the past and people have even been given fines for rafting down the river while impaired.

Though this mandatory test is something new, most are aware that drinking and driving is dangerous.

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