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Sask. RCMP 'routine' traffic stops will include mandatory breathalyzer tests

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Drivers in Saskatchewan who are pulled over by RCMP should be expected to take part in alcohol screening tests beginning April 1.

“Saskatchewan RCMP will be conducting roadside Mandatory Alcohol Screenings (MAS) on all lawful traffic stops in Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction on an on-going basis,” an RCMP news release said.

Regina police announced a similar initiative for the month of March.

RCMP said the mandatory tests will be done with an approved screening device called the Alco-Sensor FST and will take an average of 90 seconds.

Police said if a motorist refuses to take part in the test is could result in a criminal code conviction or a suspended driver's licence along with the loss of 20 demerit points and fines.

“It goes without saying that someone’s ability to mask their impairment should not be the determining factor if someone gets home safely to their family each night,” RCMP Superintendent Grant St. Germaine said in the release.

St. Germaine said the service hopes the move will make residents think twice before driving impaired.

“Rather than saying ‘gee I wonder if I’m going to be okay’ and ‘I’m probably not gonna get caught because nobody is gonna smell this, or I’m doing … whatever’ that if they do happen to get stopped … they’re gonna have to blow into a device,” he told CTV News.

In 2023 a total of 1,700 residents were charged with impaired driving in Saskatchewan, which is roughly five people per day, according to RCMP.

“What I do hope that we’re going to see is that number drop and we’re going to see less people involved in fatal crashes that have been consuming alcohol,” St. Germaine added.

“In Saskatchewan, we’re sitting at about 30 per cent of our fatal crashes have an indication that the driver has been impaired and so we want to see that number change.”

--With files from Hallee Mandryk.

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