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If you’ve been following the news recently, you may know that new mandatory alcohol screening laws have been put in place nation-wide to help authorities identify individuals driving under the influence of alcohol.

The new mandatory screening rules that were put in place in late December, now allow police to request a breath sample from any driver who is lawfully pulled over.

So how is this different from the laws that were previously in place surrounding drinking and driving? Well in the past, police officers could only request a breath sample from a driver if they had probable cause to suspect that the driver was under the influence – such as smelling alcohol in the vehicle or on the person or observing indicators of impairment. Now, under these new laws, police officers can request a breath sample from anyone who has been lawfully pulled over. So, if an officer has pulled you over for speeding or for failing to signal on a turn, you could also be asked to provide a mandatory breath sample, at the officer’s request.

How It Will Work

The mandatory breath sample required in this case cannot be used to lay a Criminal Code charge. With that being said, if the results are positive, it can be used as grounds to request a second test on a more sophisticated machine. The results of this second test would be used to lay a Criminal Code charge and would also be used as evidence in court. While the first mandatory screening test cannot be used to lay a Criminal Code charge, it can be used to enforce provincial and territorial administrative sanctions, like license suspensions and vehicle impoundments – which is reason enough to take these new rules seriously.

Why This Is Important

Many police branches, organizations and individuals are happy to hear about these new mandatory alcohol screening laws, as it’s believed that increased screening will help catch more impaired drivers out on the roads. It’s also believed that these measures will increase the perception that if you drive impaired, you have a higher chance of getting caught, which will encourage motorists not to drink and drive.

While education and awareness campaigns about drinking and driving have existed for decades now, the unfortunate reality is that impaired driving continues to be the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. The act of drinking and driving continues to claim hundreds of lives in Canada each year and is the reason for tens of thousands of injuries each year as well. With the new mandatory alcohol screening laws in place, it is a genuine hope that we will see those numbers decrease.

What To Do If You Are involved In An Impaired Driving Collision

If you’re involved in a collision that was the result of an impaired driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. In this situation, we would encourage you to follow these steps:

  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Report the collision to the proper authorities
  • Document the situation as best as possible – take photographs of the scene and injuries sustained and record the contact information of any witnesses
  • Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer

Contact Harrison Pensa

At Harrison Pensa, we understand that injuries sustained in an impaired driving collision can have long-lasting impacts both physically and emotionally. That is why our experienced personal injury lawyers take the time to fully assess your case, lay out your options and guide you through the legal process. If you’ve sustained injuries in a collision caused by the negligence of someone else, schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-855-744-9228 or by emailing personalinjurygroup@harrisonpensa.com.

A word from our clients

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"My wife was involved in a very serious motor vehicle collision several years ago, and luckily she survived, but unfortunately she suffered some injuries."
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January 8, 2016

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HARRISON PENSA ™ is a full-service law firm representing private & business interests throughout southwestern Ontario.

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