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Local police forces partnering for New Year's Eve counter attack on impaired driving

Last Updated Dec 31, 2018 at 8:01 am PDT

(Photo courtesy RCMP)
Summary

'Don't be a stat, plan your ride home,' warn Surrey RCMP

New federal laws allow officers to demand roadside breath sample of any driver

Take a taxi, take advantage of free transit, or find a designated driver to get home safe

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Surrey RCMP say they are working with multiple jurisdictions to identify and remove impaired drivers from the roads as New Year’s Eve revellers head out to party.

“Don’t be a stat, plan your ride home,” they warn as part of a series of tweets outlining CounterAttack efforts for the holiday festivities.

Other options include taking a taxi, though all cab companies are expecting a high volume of calls and there may be long wait times. TransLink is offering free bus and train services from 5 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.

But police say if those options don’t work for you, either don’t drink or do drugs or find a designated driver.

WATCH: New impaired driving laws in effect across Canada

 

The message comes two weeks after new federal laws expanded police powers, allowing officers to demand a roadside breath test of any driver, even if they don’t have reason to suspect that person has been drinking.

They do still to need to have reason to suspect you’ve used cannabis to demand a saliva test. But even the smell of pot is considered a reasonable suspicion to administer that test.

The federal legislation that came into effect Dec. 18, 2018 has been criticized by a handful of criminal lawyers and human rights advocates who warn a court challenge is inevitable and will ultimately find the law infringes on people’s right to privacy in their vehicles.

WATCH: Study finds Canadians fear cannabis impaired driving

 

Meanwhile, anti-impaired driving advocates like Bob Rorison with Mothers Against Drunk Driving say the laws are a good thing because too many people still choose to drink and drive.

“People think ‘it won’t be me.’ They think ‘I’ve gotten away with it so many times that I’m probably a good driver when I’m drunk,'” Rorison said.

He was hit by a drunk driver in 1994 and lost his job as a result of his injuries. He says he’s never fully recovered. He adds he’s met many people who have also suffered because of irresponsible decisions of other drivers.

“There should be no death and injury from impaired driving, period.”