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Tougher impaired driving laws now in effect across Canada

Last Updated Dec 18, 2018 at 2:34 pm EST

Tough, new impaired driving laws are now in effect across Canada.

Along with higher fines, the new laws allow police to demand a breath sample from drivers they lawfully stop even if the officer doesn’t have reasonable suspicion the person has been drinking.

“Research suggests that up to 50 per cent of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit are not detected at roadside checkpoints,” Toronto police Sgt. Brett Moore said in a release.

“Mandatory alcohol screening will assist in deterring individuals impaired by alcohol from driving as well as better detect those who do.”

The new laws went into effect as of midnight on Tuesday.

Anyone who refuses to give a breath sample could receive the same penalties as someone found guilty of impaired driving — a minimum $2,000 fine, their vehicle impounded for seven days and a 90 day licence suspension.

When it comes to driving while high, the new laws allow police to demand either a standardized field sobriety test or the use oral fluid drug screeners. If impairment is detected, the driver’s licence can be immediately suspended.

First offenders also face tougher fines of up to $2,000.

Police say that more than 900 people have been charged with an impaired driving offence this year in Toronto.