RCMP Traffic Services check stops lead to license suspensions, reminder to commercial drivers of Mandatory Alcohol Screening

Written by ECA Review

RCMP Traffic Services conducted a checkstop on Highway 600 southwest of Provost, Alta on July 4, 2021, at approximately 11:25 a.m.

The first vehicle to arrive at the checkstop was a tractor-trailer unit and the police officer requested the driver’s documents and the Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) demand was read.

The driver provided a breath sample, resulting in a reading of “54”. The driver stated that he hadn’t consumed any alcohol that day; however, he had been drinking the night before.

The driver was provided an opportunity to provide a second sample as per the legislation.

They provided a second sample into another Approved Screening Device and the result was “53”, which correlates to 53 mg per cent.

The driver was concerned that he was hauling a load of goods that were required to be delivered immediately.

As a result of these results, the driver was issued the commercial zero tolerance sanction, which includes a three-day license suspension and a $300 fine.

The Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) allows police to detect drivers whose ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired to some degree by alcohol when there are no outward indications during a short interaction.

In December 2018, Bill C-46 came into effect which gave police additional authority to detect and remove all instances of impaired driving. This new legislation provided police with the authority to demand that any lawfully-stopped driver provide a breath sample into an approved screening device.

Failure or refusing to comply with the demand carries the same, or greater, penalties as driving while impaired.

MAS has been internationally credited to reduce the incidence of impaired driving and can be a valuable public safety tool.

It does not provide a new power for law enforcement to stop a vehicle. The screening becomes applicable only after a vehicle is lawfully stopped for some other reason and only if the officer has an approved screening device with them.

If you are stopped by a police officer for a traffic offence or at a checkstop, Mandatory Alcohol Screening should be expected.

RCMP Traffic Services are committed to using MAS in an equitable and non-discriminatory fashion for consideration in every interaction with drivers. 

RCMP Traffic Services are confident that the test can be completed with little or no further delay than was expected for the initial traffic stop.


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