There Will be More Impaired Driving Checks in Calgary as CPS Expands MAS

Calgary Police Service has expanded the use of MAS Approved Screening Devices to all frontline police officers.

Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) came into effect in December 2018, as part of Bill C-46. This means that you will have to provide a preliminary breath sample from within your own vehicle once you enters Checkstop or were pulled over by Traffic Section police officers.

Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) refers to Criminal Code Section 320.27(2) in which a police officer who has an approved screening device on hand, is able to test a breath sample of any driver they lawfully stop, even without reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body.

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For drivers in Calgary this means that, you will be subjected to a breath test when you are pulled over by a traffic officer or when you enter a Checkstop.

Officers will approach the driver and say, “This is a Mandatory Alcohol Screening. You are required to immediately provide a breath sample.” The officer will then commence instruction on how to provide a breath sample by blowing into the Alcohol Screening Device (ASD). The test takes less than two minutes. Drivers will be asked to blow into a straw attached to the device and the results register right away.

Drivers will remain in their vehicles for the initial breath screening and will be asked to follow the officer’s directions. Once a driver is cleared, no alcohol is present, the regular traffic stop process will commence with the officer requesting the driver’s licence, registration and proof of insurance.

“Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death in Canada,” said Const. Andrew Fairman, with the Alcohol and Drug Recognition Unit. “We all want to do our part to reduce the tragic impact of impaired driving.”

MAS has been authorized in over 40 countries worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden. Authorities in Ireland credit mandatory screening for reducing the number of deaths by approximately 40 per cent in the first four years after it was enacted.

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