Taber Police Service (TPS) has new technology – the Intox EC/IR II. It is designed as the latest “breathalyzer” device to test if a driver is drinking and driving and/or impaired. The new device has been up and running for the past three months.

“It’s very accurate and it’s accepted by the courts,” said Sgt. Howard Kehler of TPS.

Kehler noted in order for the new technology to be used, operators need to be designated and those designated individuals must go through extensive training with the unit.

“It took a month to six weeks to get our designation and then we put it all together.”

There are three members of TPS designated to operate the Intox instrument. Kehler is one of the three.

According to Kehler, the alcohol program in the province is governed by the RCMP and they made the decision to change instruments.

“We just had to follow suit and every municipal police service and every RCMP detachment will be using it.”

According to Alberta Transportation, an intoxilyzer, commonly referred to as a breathalyzer, is an instrument located at a police station or inside a Checkstop vehicle. This instrument collects a reading from those who have been arrested for criminal impaired driving and is used to confirm a blood alcohol level is over .08.

Breath-testing instruments in Canada undergo a rigorous evaluation. All devices in use in Alberta must be approved for use by the Alcohol Testing Committee of the Canadian Society of Forensic Science and comply with Alberta specific training and quality assurance by the Alberta Breath Testing Committee. They also undergo scheduled inspections. These devices are carefully calibrated and regularly maintained. They are tested prior to use to ensure they are functioning properly.

If you refuse to provide a breath sample, you will be charged under the Criminal Code. Refusing to provide a sample is a criminal offence. Over-the-counter devices are not of the same level of quality as instruments used by the police, and inaccurate readings could potentially place drivers at risk.

In Alberta, over the past five years there have been over 40,000 criminal convictions for impaired driving. Over the same five years, the following administrative suspensions for drinking and driving have been initiated: 42,762 24-hour suspensions for drivers .05 to .08; 34,852 Alberta administrative licence suspensions for drivers over .08; and 6,123 Alberta zero alcohol tolerance suspensions for new drivers.

In 2011, 78 people were killed and 1,391 people were injured in casualty collisions involving alcohol. Over the last five years, 520 people were killed and 7,983 people were injured in alcohol-related collisions on Alberta roadways. Impaired driving is the single largest cause of criminal death in Canada.

A study found, 13 per cent of drivers in alcohol-related fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration of .01 to .07. Another study found between 15 to 20 per cent of alcohol-positive fatally injured drivers had blood alcohol concentrations between .01 and .08. As these studies show, even a moderate amount of alcohol can lead to collisions.

Source: Lethbridge Herald


Last updated on: 2013-10-02 | Link to this post