Tougher alcohol-impaired driving laws from December 18

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Just in time for the holidays and the drinking season, drivers who may be inclined to test the limits will be subject to mandatory roadside breath tests under new alcohol-impaired driving legislation starting December 18.

Under the new rules police have the right to demand a roadside breath test from any driver stopped for a traffic violation such as speeding or disobeying a traffic light, or during a RIDE spot check.
Under the current law, police can only demand a roadside breath test if they “develop a suspicion” that a driver is under the influence.

But that approach is at best imperfect as Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould revealed in a recent news conference. A staggering 50 per cent of impaired drivers go undetected in RIDE spot checks because they are masters at concealing any obvious signs of alcohol intake. They don’t slur, reek of alcohol or show signs of impairment leading cops to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Anyone failing a roadside screening device is then required to submit to follow-up breathalyzer tests to determine the level of alcohol in their blood, which could result in criminal charges.

Refusing to take a roadside test brings with it the same penalty as failing the test — a seven-day licence suspension and a criminal charge. Penalties are as follows:
• First offence, BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 80 to 119 milligrams, minimum $1,000 fine
• First offence, BAC of 120 to 159 mg, minimum $1,500 fine
• First offence, BAC of 160 mg or more, minimum $2,000 fine
• First offence, refuse test, minimum $2,000 fine
• Second offence of impaired driving, minimum 30 days in jail
• Third and subsequent offences of impaired driving, minimum 120 days in jail

These tough new laws should deter any wannabe tippler who plans on getting behind a wheel.

Calling Uber might prove to be a wiser move. -CINEWS

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