December 21, 2018 3:35 am
Updated: December 21, 2018 9:43 pm

New roadside breathalyzer law exercised during Kelowna RCMP checkstop


Kelowna RCMP set up a checkstop on Bernard Ave. on Thursday night, looking for holiday revelers who may hop behind the wheel.

“Our focus is to try and stop impaired driving, to have people have safe rides home and to make sure that they arrive home safely to their family,” Const. Beth Paetz said.

READ MORE: Canada’s new impaired driving laws are now in effect — here’s what to know

As of Dec. 18, police have the authority to demand breathalyzer tests from any drivers they pull over.

Any driver who refuses to take the test can be charged.

WATCH: Challenge coming for new drunk driving laws

Paetz and her colleagues stopped each driver, checking licenses, valid insurance decals and asking whether they had consumed alcohol and, if so, when they had during the course of the day.

During the time Global News was invited to watch officers at work at the checkstop, two people were asked to take a roadside breathalyzer test.

One blew for a zero reading after admitting to drinking a beer with his dinner. Another blew 0.017, which was also a negligible amount and considered a zero reading, according to the officer.

“It’s surprising to find impaired drivers at all times of day in Kelowna,” she said. “We do have people that still haven’t got the message that they need to take a cab or find another safe way to get home and not get behind the wheel after they’ve consumed alcohol.”

WATCH ABOVE: At a checkstop on Bernard Ave. in Kelowna Thursday night, RCMP used their new powers to demand drivers take a roadside breathalyzer test.

Cst. Beth Paetz asked one man to pull over for a breathalyzer after he was forthcoming about consuming a beer with his dinner.

READ MORE: Alleged drunk driver blows three times the legal limit after multiple vehicle crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP currently check for signs of drug impairment during checkstops, but do not have any way to test drivers by the side of the road.

Checkstops will continue into the weekend in Kelowna, according to RCMP.


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