Numerous social media posts have been circulating claiming the Canadian RCMP can now demand breath samples anywhere at any time. Tara Seel is a Media Relations Officer with the RCMP of Manitoba and explains there is a basis in truth in those posts, noting a change in the legislation has taken place.
"It's not like officers can go to someone's house randomly and demand a breath sample," says Seel. "That's not it at all. An officer would have attended a scene of a collision, and have reasonable expectations that an individual was involved in said collision. Then through that investigative process, within two hours, attend to that individual's homes, or where ever they may be."
Seel explains the change in the legislation took place to eliminate two types of defences often used in collision incidents. The first is the Bolus Drink Defence; this defence means when someone claims they just consumed alcohol before driving, or while driving. The second defence is known as the Intervening Drink Defence. Seel explains this means someone claims they drank as a result of a collision, due to stress, etc.
Seel outlines by having the new legislation in place the RCMP has an opportunity to finish an investigation. She adds, after a two hour period post-collision an officer cannot demand a breath sample.
"Ideally everyone stays at the scene, and we can do everything right there," says Seel.
Seel stresses the RCMP takes this extremely seriously. She notes, impaired driving is a choice that has seen a lot of Manitobans not make it home to their families. She insists, the RCMP is doing everything in its power to ensure roads are safe. She notes this is just one more tool in the toolbox.