By Stan Ashbee
Southern Alberta Newspapers
As of Dec. 18, anyone stopped by a police officer while driving will have to take a breathalyzer test. From drivers that haven’t had anything to drink to those who might have had an after dinner drink or an egg nog at home — no exceptions.
According to Sergeant Neil Bailey from the Bow Island/Foremost RCMP, when a driver is now pulled over by a police officer everybody that is pulled over will have to blow into a breathalyzer — even those going to church on Sunday and those who have never had a drop of liquor in their life. The idea is to alleviate the notion of any type of profiling because of race, culture, age, etc. — in regards to roadside breathalyzer tests.
“Regardless of who you are — everybody’s got to blow,” noted Bailey. And this means at every stop — even if it’s for a burned-out tail light.
“It’s definitely going to be different and we’ll see what happens or where it goes,” Bailey said.
Prior to Dec. 18, Bailey explained, the Criminal Code stated an officer needed to have reasonable suspicion a driver had alcohol in their body. “Meaning they admit to drinking or you smell it or you see evidence of it.”
“That was the only way you could do it before,” he added. “But now that this has changed, they don’t have to have reasonable suspicion.”
In Australia, Bailey noted, during a roadside check stop it has been mandatory for drivers to blow into a breathalyzer for years.
“A person gets stopped in Australia — they roll down their window, they take the keys out of the ignition and put them up on the dash and they sit and wait until the police comes up and makes them blow — and then they start having their conversation,” he said.