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Recently, the federal government implemented new legislation regarding driving impaired.

Under this new legislation, RCMP no longer require “reasonable suspicion” to request that a driver submit to a breathalyzer test. This change led to confusion among the public in regard to their rights and when an officer can request a breathalyzer test.

Related: Confused about breathalyzer rules? Penticton RCMP clarify

A concern and false rumor that quickly spread around social media was that RCMP now had the ability to track you down at a public place or your place of living and request a breathalyzer test because someone may have reported you as an impaired driver earlier. We spoke with Penticton RCMP and confirmed that officers do not have the authority to do this because they cannot prove you were operating a motor vehicle, even if you were impaired at the time of a breathalyzer test after the fact. This is called a loss of “continuity of the person and what they’ve done in the interim of events.”

“Say someone reports a drunk driver, they give us the licence plate and say, ‘I saw them drinking a lot and then they drove home and swerving around.’ and they went to an address and went inside their house,” said Constable James Grandy. “If we arrive 20 minutes later, 10 minutes later or even five minutes later for that matter, we can’t demand that the person provide a breath sample. Because they are no longer in their vehicle and the time has passed because they were in their house. That doesn’t apply.”

Given this clarification, are you in favour of this new legislation or do you think RCMP should still need “reasonable suspicion” to force a driver to adhere to a breathalyzer test?


To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.