Langley Mounties get new tool to find drunk drivers

New legislation take effect this week that will allow broader breathalyzer testing.

New drunk driving rules that took effect Tuesday, Dec. 18 mean Langley RCMP officers will have more leeway when deciding when to administer a breathalyzer test to drivers.

Bill C-46 means police can demand a breath test from any driver pulled over for a traffic violation or at a road check.

Since a breathalyzer test can lead to a roadside suspension or charges under impaired driving laws, police may be able to catch more drunk drivers this holiday season.

Sgt. Alexandra Mulvihill, head of Langley RCMP’s traffic section, said the biggest difference will be at the CounterAttack-style road blocks.

To conduct a test in the past, police needed some reasonable suspicion that a driver was impaired.

That could mean driving behaviour, such as swerving and driving erratically. It could mean a smell of alcohol or slurred speech.

But a driver who had been drinking but rolled up to a roadblock slowly didn’t always present obvious symptoms of impairment.

“We didn’t have driving evidence,” Mulvihill said of the roadblock checks.

Sometimes that didn’t matter.

“We’ve had some [road checks] where we couldn’t pull them over fast enough, impairment was obvious,” said Mulvihill.

But sometimes road checks don’t pick up very many impaired drivers, while officers on general patrol on the same nights do find drunk drivers by their driving behaviour.

Now police can, theoretically, ask for a check from anyone at a road check.

It will also be helpful at the scenes of collisions, Mulvihill said.

The smell of alchol at a crash may be masked by the debris of a detonated airbag, or by fluids leaking from a damaged vehicle.

Mulvihill said Langley RCMP officers will be using the new rules judiciously.

“It’s not going to be an immediate go-to,” said Mulvihill.

Officers will still be working to formulate a reasonable suspicion before reaching for the breathalyzer.

Mulvihill said officers in general duty and traffic section have been trained on the new regulations. They’ve also been upgrading their skills around spotting marijuana-impaired drivers.

“I would seen we’ve seen a marginal increase in 24-hour prohibitions by drugs [since marijuana legalization],” said Mulvihill.

It’s too soon to say if there’s been a major uptick since October, when legalization went into force.

As usual, when it comes to the holidays, police have a clear message for drivers.

“Don’t drink and drive, pretty simple,” said Mulvihill.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students at Brookswood Secondary participated in Student Vote 2020. (Katie Glover/Special to Langley Advance Times)
PHOTOS: Students cast a ballot for Langley candidates

Brookswood Secondary participated in Student Vote 2020

Voting locations in Langley for the 2020 BC provincial election. (Google)
MAP: Voting locations in Langley

Sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Aldergrove legion Branch 265 president Doug Hadley presents a poppy to Langley Township mayor Jack Froese. (Madeline Roach/Special to the Aldergrove Star)
Poppy sales begin at Aldergrove legion branch #265

Branch president Doug Hadley shared the poem Who is a Veteran to begin the time of remembrance

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

Willowbrook Shopping Centre. (Langley Advance Times files)
Le Chateau will shutter stores in Willowbrook, across Canada

The Canadian fashion company says COVID-19 has made it impossible to continue operating

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Most Read