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Think before you drink: feds issue stern reminder ahead of stricter drunk driving laws

Last Updated Dec 4, 2018 at 11:35 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

New, stricter drunk driving laws come into effect across Canada on Dec. 18

New impaired driving laws will allow police to demand mandatory breathalyzer tests at all lawful roadside stops

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – You might want to avoid that rum and eggnog.

With the holiday season underway, the federal government is issuing a reminder that new drunk driving laws will be coming into effect on Dec. 18.

“The overwhelming evidence is that it saves lives,” Minister for Organized Crime Reduction and former Police Chief Bill Blair said, calling stricter laws a game changer.

The new impaired driving laws coming into effect will allow police to demand a mandatory breathalyzer test at all lawful roadside stops, even if the officer has no suspicion the driver has been drinking.

Greg Thompson with MADD Canada, who lost his son in a drunk driving incident, says this could reduce impaired driving by 20 per cent.

“That means that we will prevent 200 deaths in a year,” he said.

However, critics say eliminating just cause for breathalyzers may be unconstitutional and there are fears this could have a larger impact on minorities through racial profiling.

“It is a significant infringement on individual liberty,” Conservative Michael Cooper said.

The federal justice minister is confident the law abides by the charter, and says the change will make Canadian roads safer.

“And result in fewer road deaths and fewer Canadian families devastated by the effects of an impaired driver,” she said.