With Part 2 of Bill C-46 coming into effect December 18, the Ontario Provincial Police will begin to exercise new authority for investigating impaired drivers on Ontario roads.
Police officers will now be able to demand a roadside breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver to determine whether a person has alcohol in his or her body without first having to suspect the motorist has been drinking. Until now, officers had to have a reasonable suspicion that a driver had alcohol in their body before demanding a sample. Drivers need to be aware that it is mandatory for them to comply with this demand and that those who do not can be charged with failing or refusing to provide a breath sample. Under the new legislation, drivers impaired by alcohol will also face higher mandatory minimum fines and some higher maximum penalties.
"The new mandatory alcohol screening serves as an important deterrent to drivers who are impaired by alcohol, including those who believe they can avoid detection by police. So far this year, alcohol and/or drugs have been a factor in the deaths of 41 people on OPP-patrolled roads. Every person who uses our roads has the right to be safe. The OPP fully supports this and any other legislation that enhances our ability to reduce the number of preventable deaths attributed to this deadly driving behaviour."
The OPP has laid more than 7,300 impaired driving charges across the province between January 1 and mid-November.