Waterloo Regional Police to Introduce Mandatory Alcohol Testing at All Traffic Stops

Waterloo Regional Police to Introduce Mandatory Alcohol Testing at All Traffic Stops

All drivers stopped by officers of the Waterloo Regional Police Service can now undergo a breathalyzer test.

WRPS has announced that they will be launching a pilot project for mandatory alcohol testing from July 1 in an effort to tackle drink driving.

“We are conducting this project with our traffic department to see if this will have a positive impact on our ability to detect and deter intoxicated drivers from driving,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Griffiths.

According to a WRPS press release, 939 DUI charges were filed in 2023, and DUI was considered a factor in two deaths.

“What concerns us is that there is an increase year after year. So we have seen consistent increases.”

WRPS officers will now ask all drivers stopped during a traffic stop to take a roadside breath test, even if the officer does not suspect the driver has been drinking.

Some residents give the green light for the pilot project.

“It’s just an extra second of the day and it could also prevent some potential accidents,” one person told CTV News.

Others are a bit more reserved.

“It may seem a little drastic, but I would say it’s fine with me if it keeps our streets safer,” one person told CTV News.

“Honestly, I don’t think that’s true. You shouldn’t assume that just because I made a mistake, I automatically drank alcohol,” said someone else.

“So there’s always going to be a transition period where our traffic officers take the time to explain what they’re doing,” Griffiths said. “But I would say the time it takes to take a sample is about half the time it takes to explain it.”

Drivers who refuse may be charged with non-compliance.

The pilot program is expected to last until the end of the year.

‘The strictest measures yet’

WRPS’s move comes after the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) announced a similar move in May.

OPP announced they would implement mandatory alcohol testing at every traffic stop in the Greater Toronto Area after the number of drink-driving collisions and tickets increased by nearly 30 per cent compared to the previous five-year average.

“When the OPP took the steps to launch that pilot in the GTA area, we obviously looked at it very carefully and decided to launch our own pilot project in the same spirit,” Griffiths explained.

The project includes highways in Waterloo Region patrolled by the OPP’s Cambridge Division, including Highway 7/8, Highway 85 and Highway 401, Sergeant Kerry Schmidt confirmed.

The OPP called the initiative “the toughest measure yet to curb drunk driving.”

— Featuring reporting by CTV’s Krista Simpson.