Could Canada be on track to having the strongest impaired driving laws in the world? If new legislation passes allowing police to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer just based on suspicion, Canada could go from its middle position straight to the top when it comes to cracking down on drunk driving.
The new changes were introduced recently by the justice minister, and they have been brought up at a crucial time in Canadian legal history. The Liberal government is taking steps to legalize cannabis, and with that legalization may come an influx of drug and alcohol-impaired drivers. To stop them the Canadian government has to be proactive, and that’s why they’ve proposed the following:
Mandatory roadside testing
Right now police officers can pull anyone over, but if they think that person is driving drunk, he or she must have reasonable suspicion before that person can be asked to submit to a breathalyzer. If the new legislation passes, a police officer will be able to ask any driver they stop to submit to a breathalyzer test, even if they don’t suspect them of impaired driving.
Impaired driving laws will change to close loopholes
Right now a driver can avoid an impaired driving conviction if they state that they drank alcohol right before they drove or during their drive, so they weren’t actually over the legal limit of .08 when they were driving. These offenders will state that they only reached illegal blood alcohol levels at the time of testing.
This loophole will be closed, changing the time frame for blowing an illegal blood alcohol level on a breathalyzer to within two hours.
No wait for first offenders accessing ignition interlock programs
Canadian impaired driving laws will also change to allow new guidelines for provincial ignition interlock programs. Right now a first offender has to wait a year before he or she is admitted to the program, but if changed the first offender would be able to sign up immediately after conviction, and if they receive a second or third offense, they’ll only have to wait three and six months.
These changes, if passed, will transform the landscape of Canadian impaired driving laws, and by doing so, make it loud and clear that drunk driving is not acceptable in the country.