SHOULD WE HAVE RANDOM BREATHALYZER TESTS?

A Quebec organization for the moderate use of alcohol is urging the province to institute random roadside breathalyzer tests.  Random tests would allow police to stop any driver at random and issue a roadside breathalyzer test, even if there is no reason to suspect that there is alchohol in the system.  The current practice requires that police have reasonable suspicions of intoxification such as erratic driving or running a red light.

The Quebec report cites statistics from Ireland, New Zealand and Australia that demonstrates how the introduction of random testing dramatically reduced the number of alcohol related deaths on the road.  Currently 43 nations use random breath testing, including France, Italy, Finland and Russia.

However, the Quebec Bar is opposed to random testing. The Bar argues that the practice  violates basic civil liberties which insure security from unreasonable searches or seizure.

A study by Mothers Against Drunk Driving shows that 77 per cent of Canadians support random testing.

One Montreal citizen says, “Testing someone, or searching them or invading their property with no reason to suspect anything just makes me feel too much like being in a police state.”

Still, deaths from drunk driving on the roads is an epidemic.  Surely any intitiative that will reduce this carnage should be explored.

Should we have random breathalyzer tests?

What do you think?

13 Comments »

  1. 1

    No. Absolutely not.

    An equivalent would be random strip searches in case you stole something.

  2. 2

    I wouldn’t compare a random alcohol test to a strip search, but I get the point.

    Quebec has criminalized drunk driving, (I don’t know what other provinces do).
    It has had some effect but too many people still drink and drive causing chaos and death.
    Why are we always concerned about the rights of ALL people as thought they deserve it? If you are sober, there is no reason to resist a stop. It may be an inconvenience, but we would be safer on the roads. I don’t resist a search getting on an airplane. It’s called “the greater good”. What about the law against texting/phoning while driving?

    There are too many people on the road, too many over the limit, and too much carnage- Every Monday, see the obits mostly ages17-27!!!

    I would want to see drug & alcohol testing. Say goodbye to “the 3 Martini lunch”.

  3. 3

    Patti, I don’t think you do get the point. The comparison between random tests for alcohol and random strip searches goes to the motive behind those manouvers: the suspicion that you have done something illegal, and must prove yourself innocent!

    THAT is unconstitutional.

    “Greater good” can be better accomplished with stiffer penalties for those who are actually caught at it.

  4. 4
    Neil McKenty Says:

    I put it to y ou that what is behind this is not the suspicion that others have done something illegal. What is behind it is to alert drivers – drinking or not – they they better be alert.

  5. 5

    And I put it to you that we are being mommied to death. If drivers have not already figured out that drinking and driving is not only dangerous, but illegal, then further intrusions into privacy will not change their behavior — they will still think that it won’t happen to them.

    I still say NO.

  6. 6

    I ALWAYS get the point. No matter how convoluted it is, I respect that it is your point of view, and may be different than mine.
    BTW- Does it make you feel better to talk down to people? You seem to need to do that in order to validate your comment.

    I have never been strip searched & most people haven’t, I have been stopped in a line up of cars where the police were alcohol testing. I was asked if I had been drinking, said no, and wasn’t asked to prove anything. I understand the police usually catch 1 out of 10 over the limit!

    On the subject of Niquabs, I like “Philsfancy” comment-
    “No absolute freedoms… ”
    I agree, we live within a society that gives us great freedom, but we have to be responsible and respect rules.

    Re: stiff penalties. Short of the death penalty, several drunks have been convicted many times, lost their license, served time & drive anyway.
    I have a hard time with people who think they can drink & ………..(anything).

  7. 7

    Patti, from the way you answered me, you didn’t get my point. Which is why I clarified.

    If you have never been strip searched, then you have something to anticipate. When it does happen, be sure to let us know how you feel about it, ‘kay?

    And roadblock questions are not the same as breathalizer tests.

  8. 8

    The road block questions can lead to a breathalyzer. If the police suspect, then they do a test. They are well trained to spot a drinker. I cross the border every week. The guards have the same training, to spot a liar.
    I don’t expect that I’ll ever be strip searched. The vast majority of law abiding citizens are not. You have a greater chance of being hit by a drunk driver than being strip searched!
    So here we are back to square one.I don’t consider it an assault on my civil liberties.
    “77% of Canadians support random testing” I am one of them. Period!

    PS: Just a little “clarification while we’re at it:
    Neil asks:”Should we have random breathalyzer tests?”
    ” What do you think”?
    He doesn’t say “What do you think of what I think” :-)

  9. 9
    Jim Says:

    The law should state that the maximum time that a driver should be forced to wait is 5 minutes. At the end of that time they should be able to drive off to i.e.catch their plane..I recall seeing a field full of pull-overs. How much did those delays cost the citizens, who had not broken the law.

  10. 10
    john girolmo Says:

    Drunks, lets get them off the road, but technical impairment of .6 is overreaching. I’ve seen no statistical study that shows technical impairment of .6 causes any more accidents than zero drinking .Perhaps we overcome the technical impairment by being more alert, Combing your hair, looking out the window, talking, listening to the radio etc also impair drivers. Want to reduce carnage on the road? Eliminate all teenager drivers. Teenagers are several times more likely to die on the road drinking or not. Double dare you! Police state: what’s next… random breathalyzer tests? OK, But only for real drunks not technical ones.

  11. 11

    I agree with the teen drivers comment. On one hand, many teens work and need transportation and are very responsible…on the other hand-the vast majority are not good drivers. No fear=carelessness.
    Parents would just have to continue being the teen taxi for another couple of years.
    I think that I would at least make the age 18 to acquire a license. Or a curfew for all new drivers.
    I admit that when I got my license, I really didn’t know HOW to drive. That’s true of most drivers. Practice makes perfect.

  12. 12
    Jim Says:

    .6 should be the cause for more accidents. It is almost ten times higher than the maximum legal limit in this province.

  13. 13
    john girolmo Says:

    Jim, You are correct. Sorry, I slipped a decimal point. I meant .06 not .6. I just have a difficult time believing that .06 alcohol technical impairment is any worse than all other types of impairments unique to our diversity of drivers and their driving habits. e.g teenagers. I would like to see any credible study that compares accidents of those with .06 technical impairment vs zero alcohol.The heavy penalties by traffic enforcement or at the border are psychologically over burdensome to the population even at the warning level, unless society just wants to get rid of alcohol, and is using vehicles as the entry point. Real drunks s/b off the road! Thanks.


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