After new stricter driving laws were announced earlier this week, drivers were made aware that there would be some serious changes when it came to laws on the road. The changes initially were in response to the legalization of marijuana but, are now also covering all forms of impaired or distracted driving.
If there is any new law, in particular, that's drawing more attention than the others, it's the new right that police officers have to administer a sobriety test no matter what. Leaving drivers with no way to be exempt from having to prove if they really are sober enough to drive.
Before the change to the Criminal Code, police officers weren't allowed to administer any kind of sobriety test unless they had reasonable grounds to suspect impaired driving, such as slurring of speech, odd behaviour or the drivers' breath smelling like alcohol.
Now, police are able to ask the driver to prove their sobriety even if suspicion of impaired driving wasn't the initial reason the driver was being pulled over. The idea of mandatory alcohol screening according to MADD director, Anissa Aldridge, has a "huge effect on deterring individuals from driving while impaired." Through MADD's research on other countries who have the system in place, they have found it "has reduced impaired driving considerably."
While the new law has good intentions, it hasn't been enacted without controversy. Some people are concerned it violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that allows everyone the right "to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure."
Regardless with the law now enacted, drivers will have to get used to getting screened considering the RCMP predict "most drivers who come into contact with police will be screened." As of now according to Aldridge, the new mandatory alcohol screening that is covered in Bill C-46 is expected to reduce impaired driving by as much as 20%, saving as many as 200 lives a year.