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Random breath tests could be a reality for Canadian drivers
Published Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:20PM MST
Canada's federal justice department is investigating the idea of imposing random breathalyzer tests. Currently, a federal discussion paper explores the benefits of random breathalyzer tests.
So far, 22 European countries use the random tests, and say drinking and driving numbers are down dramatically.
As it stands right now in Canada, police can only administer breath tests if they have reasonable evidence to believe someone has been drinking.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), impaired driving rates have decreased 23 per cent, on average, in those European jurisdictions.
But the Criminal Trial Lawyers' Association is against the idea, saying it hopes the discussion dies.
The association claims police already have the right to do random stops, such as Checkstops, and it feels the federal government is using the idea to show Canadians it is getting tough on crime.
"The legislation is absolutely unnecessary -- they can set up Checkstops -- they can stop a car regardless of what they think the car's doing -- from then on, they can check the guy out whether he's been drinking," said Mike Clancy with the Criminal Trial Lawyers' Association.
MADD argues legislation should go beyond seasonal Checkstops, and drivers should be on guard every day of the year.
"Why are you afraid? You shouldn't be afraid to be tested if you have nothing to hide," said Gladys Shelstad with MADD Canada.
Federal officials are now looking for public input on the issue. Provincial ministers and other experts will also have an opportunity weigh in on the idea.
To find out more click here.
With files from CTV's Erin Isfeld