“If a police officer stops your vehicle and demands a breath sample to determine whether you have consumed alcohol before driving, take the test,” stated SGI in a release on March 1. 

Under federal legislation, police have the right to demand a quick roadside breath test of any driver they legally stop using an approved screening device, stated SGI. Reasonable suspicion is not required for the roadside test. 

“The federal law - Criminal Code Section 320.27(2) - that gives police this right actually took effect in 2018, but police say many drivers they encounter still aren’t aware they’re required to comply with a demand for the breath test. That’s a problem, because drivers potentially face serious penalties if they refuse to take the test.”

“It is estimated that over 1,500 people are killed by impaired drivers in Canada each year,” said Sgt. Shannon Gordon of the Regina Police Service’s Traffic Unit. “We would like to remind drivers that mandatory roadside alcohol screening is not targeted, but an effort to decrease these numbers and provide a safer driving experience for everyone on the road.” 

SGI stated that a driver who refuses to take the test can be charged with a Criminal Code offence, which carries penalties that are the same or greater than those for impaired driving convictions. 

  • Immediate roadside licence suspension
  • Immediate minimum 30-day vehicle impoundment (Upon conviction)  
  • $2,000 fine (minimum)
  • Mandatory impaired driver education
  • $1,250 Safe Driver Recognition penalty (minimum)  
  • One-year Ignition Interlock requirement (minimum) 

In March, the Regina Police Service Traffic Safety Unit will be conducting mandatory roadside alcohol screening on all drivers they stop, including offences like speeding, distracted driving, or not wearing a seatbelt. Drivers in other parts of the province may or may not be asked to take a test at any given time, stated SGI. 

“SGI wants to help drivers make good, informed choices that will keep all road users safe and keep them out of trouble,” said JP Cullen, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “We want to help make sure people are aware of the federal legislation that gives police the right to administer this test. The test itself only takes a few seconds, and if the driver doesn’t exceed the legal limits for alcohol, they will be quickly on their way.”

“Impaired driving remains the leading cause of fatal collisions on Saskatchewan roads. Together, we can ensure everyone finds a safe ride home by volunteering to be the designated driver, calling a friend or loved one for a ride (or answering the call when it’s your turn), using a taxi or rideshare service or spending the night at a friend’s place,” explained SGI in the release.