Regarding Random Breath Testing Intrusive (The Daily News, Jan. 14). Random breath testing has been introduced in numerous comparable democracies around the world without transforming any of them into police states.
Why would Canada be any different? What random breath testing has done in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Ireland is help them significantly reduce their rates of impaired driving crashes and deaths.
Millions of Canadians continue to drink and drive, in part because the likelihood of ever being stopped or charged is low. Survey, charge and conviction data indicate a person would have to drive impaired once a week, every week, for more than three years before being charged and for over six years before being convicted.
Allowing police to demand breath samples from all drivers pulled over at checkpoints will greatly increase the deterrent value of the law. Random breath testing does not replace existing checkstops; it is used in conjunction with them.
Furthermore, the cost of random breath testing will be largely offset by the savings achieved through reduced crashes. Fewer police resources will be spent on investigating and processing crashes, and can be redirected to deterring impaired driving.
Your comparison with searches of trunks and basements is inaccurate. A more apt comparison would be with the existing random searches that occur now at airports, borders or entrances to courtrooms or many other government buildings.
Such searches and seizures are allowed in order to ensure public safety. Legal experts have indicated that random breath testing will be found to be equally justified and constitutional.
The protection of personal freedoms is important; so too is protecting citizens from needless and entirely preventable impaired driving crashes.
Random breath testing has the potential to save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of injuries every year.
That is certainly worth a few minutes of drivers’ time.
We are happy to share more information about random breath testing and the effect it would have in Canada via our web site at www.madd.ca
CEO, MADD Canada