Table of contents

How it works

Throughout the year, police set up checkstops on Alberta's roads to stop drivers and check for signs of impairment. The locations change often and drivers or motorcyclists can be stopped at random. Here's how it works:

  1. Mandatory alcohol screening means police officers can demand a breath sample from any driver who they have lawfully stopped, even if the police do not suspect alcohol impairment.
  2. If police suspect a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol, they can require the driver to take a roadside breath test and/or an oral fluid test. A roadside breath test indicates the presence of alcohol. A roadside oral fluid drug screening test indicates the presence of THC, cocaine, or methamphetamine in the driver's saliva.
    • If the tests indicate a pass, the driver can continue on their way.
    • If the tests indicate the presence of alcohol and/or drugs, the police continue with an impaired driving investigation.
  3. The investigation could involve:
    • a more advanced alcohol breath test to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
    • a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST), which checks for signs of impairment by examining the driver's eyes, walking ability, balance and other factors
    • if an SFST tests determines impairment, a further evaluation by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) and blood sample may be taken to confirm alcohol and/or drug blood concentration
  4. If the investigation confirms the driver is impaired by drugs, alcohol or a combination of both, charges can be laid and the driver's licence suspended. If drivers refuse to take any of these tests, charges can be laid and their licence can be suspended.

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