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Effective Immediately: Mandatory Alcohol Screening with Every Traffic Stop in the GTA

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has announced that mandatory alcohol screening will now be conducted at every traffic stop on major highways in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including the QEW, Highway 403, and Highway 401. This initiative, part of the broader efforts under Canada’s Mandatory Alcohol Screening law, requires drivers to provide a breath sample upon request by a police officer during a lawful traffic stop, without the officer needing to have any suspicion of alcohol consumption.

Drivers who refuse to comply with the breath demand can face criminal charges under the failure or refusal to comply provisions of the Criminal Code. The OPP emphasizes that this measure is intended to increase the detection of impaired drivers and enhance public safety, highlighting the statistical increase in both impaired driving incidents and related charges in recent years.

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Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have expressed strong support for this approach. MADD points out that mandatory alcohol screening significantly increases the likelihood of detecting impaired drivers and serves as a deterrent, potentially reducing the prevalence of impaired driving and the related risks and fatalities.

The enforcement of this law is a response to the troubling trend of increased impaired driving incidents and fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads, with a significant rise in both the number of collisions and charges related to impaired driving in the past five years.

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