Liberal ministers are warning that the risk of being nabbed for impaired driving will increase "exponentially" the holiday season – even as they recognize their new impaired driving law is likely to face a lot of challenges.
Justin Minister Jodi Wilson-Rheboold and Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair held a news conference Tuesday to remind Canadians that in two weeks, they would be subjected to mandatory alcohol screening if they were stopped by police.
"That, frankly, is a game changer," said Blair. "And what we want all Canadian drivers to understand is that … Should you make the criminal choice to pass under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the likelihood of getting caught is about to increase exponentially because the police have new authorities and new tools To make a determination whether or not what individual has alcohol in their system. "
Bill C-46 passed in June; The changes to alcohol-impaired driving laws are set to bridge in December 18. Under the law, the police can claim that drivers submit roadside alcohol screening tests if they have violated traveling laws – by spinning or blowing through a stop sign, for example – or if they are staying during a random roadside trial program. Drivers blowing over the legal limit give police probable grounds to require follow-up tests that can produce results that lead to criminal charges.
Prior to C-46, police may only demand a breath test in situations where they have "reasonable grounds" to suspect impotence – the smell of alcohol on a driver's breath or slurred speech, for example.
Blair said that, in the past, too many people have been able to "bluff" their way through the roadside checks and hide the smell of booze from officers.
Wilson-Raybould estimated that up to 50 percent of impaired drivers went unchecked during roadside controls.
Law to maintain justice
The law was jailed by criminal defense lawyers and others as a violation of constitutional protection against arbitrary detentions and unreachable searches. Wilson-Raybould said she was "100 percent safe" the new law does not hold the Charter of Rights and Freedom because its fundamental objective is to save lives.
She does, however, expect the legislation to be tested in the court.
"I think that with all legislation, it is the potential to be challenged. I have every expectation that it will be," she said.
Wilson-Raybould has over 40 countries worldwide have adopted similar laws.
"When you celebrate the holidays, be responsible and set an example," she said. "If you get behind the wheel of your car while you are impaired, you will be caught."
The first part of Ottawa's impending driving reform, including drug impairment, came into force on 21 June.
Conservative MP Michael Cooper said C-46 appears to be targeting Canadians who want to enjoy a couple of beers with their chicken wings. He said he believes that the law will confront constitutional challenges and call it a "serious infringement" of civil liberties.
"The bottom line is that it will be litigated and that's going to take a lot of time, and this is a concern that our courts have already been vaccinated with cases being dropped due to delay," he said.
Senator Jiel said he had a "major concern" about the law – that police forces do not have enough time to train and test the new equipment.
"That would open the problems to anyone who would be arrested with the conclusion that the test would not be reliable," he said.
It's a jump & # 39;
Gregg Thomson of Mothers Against Drug Driving (MADD Canada) He expected the law to serve as an exemption and reduce impaired driving by 20 percent. That could prevent 200 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries a year, he said.
"This is the most significant step I've seen in the country, and this is a jump, it's a huge, huge, jumping."
Thomson's son Stan, 18, was killed in a crash on his own, Ontario in June 1999, the passenger in a truck driven by an impaired teenager. Four other teens died in the crash.