Source: Facebook

Anyone pulled over on OPP-patrolled highways in the Greater Toronto Area will now be forced to pass a breathalyzer test, regardless of the reason they were pulled over. 

The Ontario Provincial Police Highway Safety Division announced on Thursday, in a post to X, that they will be issuing automatic and mandatory breathalyzers for all traffic stops. 

Drivers will be required by law to provide a breath sample. Refusal will result in an automatic 90-day license suspension, a seven-day vehicle impound, and a criminal charge.

“In 2018, legislation provided authority to officers to demand a breath sample through an approved screening device, even when the officers did not have suspicion that the driver had been drinking,” said OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt in his post to X announcing the enforcement measure.

Canada’s Mandatory Alcohol Screening was amended in 2018 to allow police to demand a breath test of any driver, regardless of suspicion.

“So, if you’re stopped for speeding, a cell phone, a seatbelt offence, or any time you’re stopped by the OPP Highway Safety Division, you can expect you will also be required to provide a sample of your breath,” he added.

The new enforcement measure comes into effect aiming to combat impaired driving as the leading criminal cause of death on Ontario’s highways.

The OPP said it has seen an increase of 30% more impaired driving crashes and charges in the province this year. Compared to the previous five-year average in the Greater Toronto Area, the OPP has noted a 50% increase in impaired driving crashes this year.  

“Officers will tell you why you’ve been stopped, ask for your documents, and read a demand which will go something like: ‘I demand that you provide a suitable sample of your breath into an approved screening device for a proper analysis to be made and that you accompany me for that purpose,’” said Schmidt.

He said that the test takes no longer than a few seconds. After completing the breathalyzer, officers will resume with the initial purpose of the traffic stop.

“If you register any alcohol and you are a young novice or graduated driver, or you register a warn range or a fail, there will be other consequences,” said Schmidt. 

The new policy is among the strongest measures ever implemented to detect impaired drivers on roadways.

The City of Toronto reported that impaired driving continues to be the leading cause of criminal death in Canada.

In 2022, there were a total of 4,829 alcohol screening tests administered in Toronto. 4,718 people passed, 92 were warned, and 19 failed. 

“Please, let’s all do our part. If you drink, don’t drive. If you drive, don’t drink. Let’s make sure we all get to our destinations safe,” concluded Schmidt.