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Expect to See Impaired Driving Checkstops This Holiday Season

Existing federal legislation enables police to request quick breath test of any driver

Saskatchewan drivers will notice an abundance of impaired driving checkstops across the province throughout the holiday season.

“Checkstops are an important enforcement tool and a highly visual reminder to drivers about the importance of planning a safe ride home,” Minister Responsible for SGI Don Morgan said. “Impaired driving is a persistent and deadly problem which requires ongoing enforcement. SGI is providing additional funding to police agencies to conduct more than 40 checkstops this December in order to keep our roads safe.”

Checkstops can occur any day of the week, on a municipal street, in a city, in a town or on a highway. Police also use less conspicuous tactics to catch impaired drivers, and the public is encouraged to call 9-1-1 to report any motorists they believe are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The bottom line is this: if you drive impaired anywhere in Saskatchewan, there is a strong chance you’ll be caught, arrested and charged.

Roadside alcohol screening

Under federal legislation, specifically Bill C-46, which took effect in 2018 – police can legally demand a roadside breath test for alcohol from anyone they legally stop. A trained officer will make a formal demand that someone provide a breath sample into an approved screening device. There is no requirement for reasonable suspicion for the officer to make a demand. People who refuse a test can be charged with a Criminal Code offence, with penalties that are the same or greater than those for impaired driving convictions. If you’re not driving impaired, the breath test just takes a matter of seconds, and drivers who pass are on their way quickly.

“We appreciate the cooperation of drivers who may be pulled over for our checkstops,” Officer in Charge of the Saskatchewan RCMP’s Traffic Services Division Supt. Grant St. Germaine said. “Please be assured that a demand for a breath sample is not an accusation; it’s simply standard procedure to help ensure that people are driving sober. We use all the tools we have at our disposal to try to keep our roads safe – roadside breath tests being one of them.”

Drivers are reminded to only drive if they are sober, and to find a safe ride home when they’re impaired.

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