Beginning December 18th, mandatory alcohol screening will come into effect with the objective of reducing alcohol-related deaths and injuries on Canadian roads. Mandatory alcohol screening refers to a policy that provides police with the ability to stop drivers and demand a mandatory breath alcohol screening test at any time, even if there is no reasonable suspicion of impairment.
While this law will be newly implemented in Canada, this method of deterrence to prevent drunk driving has already been proven effective in many countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, which have seen a significant reduction in alcohol-related accidents and deaths. For example, in New South Wales, Australia, the introduction of random breath tests in 1982 led to a 48% reduction in fatal crashes over a 4.5 month period and an average 15% reduction in fatal crashes over a subsequent 10 year period. Random breath testing also led to a 35% reduction in fatal crashes in Queensland over a 4 year period (Henstridge, Homel & Mackay 1997).
According to Felix JE Comeau, Chairman & CEO of Alcohol Countermeasure Systems, “ACS has worked closely with regulators, legislators, law enforcement officials and road safety professionals for over 40 years and we realize that there is no single law or awareness campaign that will completely stop impaired driving. What is needed to fight impaired driving is a combination of advanced technology, laws, education and awareness which will help to change behaviors and deter others from getting behind the wheel while impaired. Mandatory breath testing will reduce alcohol related crashes by a significant amount.”
A 2013 study on Western Australia indicates that for every 10% increase in the percentage of random breath tests to a licensed driver there is a 0.15% decrease in the rate of alcohol related traffic crashes per 100,000 licenced drivers. Therefore, that the increase in random breath tests conducted results in a decrease in the number of drivers detected for drinking driving presumably because the risk of being caught is highly increased (Ferris, Mazerollea, Kingb, Bates, Bennetta & Devaneya 2003).
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) states that Canada will likely see drunk driving accident reductions similar to those in Ireland, who experienced a 19% reduction in crash fatalities after 1 year. Canada and Ireland both have similar systems of sobriety checkpoints and reasonable suspicion requirements.
Alcohol Countermeasure Systems is a world leader in promoting road safety and preventing impaired driving. With new breath testing laws helping to strengthen the fight against impaired driving our mission is to continue to research and develop innovative, high quality, and user-friendly products and services to keep people and our roads safe.
Alcohol Countermeasure Systems is an international group of companies with over 40 years of experience developing innovative technology to prevent impaired driving. A leading designer/ manufacturer of alcohol ignition interlocks and breath alcohol testers, ACS provides products and services to law enforcement, automotive, industrial, public and personal safety markets. We improve global road safety through innovative design, manufacturing and customer support services. Please visit www.acs-corp.com
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Toronto, Ontario M9W 6J2 Canada
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