RCMP to debut new powers this New Year’s Eve

Published: December 31, 2018

Updated: February 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Holiday season is in full swing and New Year’s Eve is the cherry on the festive cake. As Canadians usher in 2019, RCMP are reminding drivers to be careful on the roads. The message from the force is clear, ditch the booze or ditch the car.

Impaired driving is more likely on New Year’s Eve, so RCMP is urging drivers to organize a sober ride home from parties if they are consuming alcohol or cannabis. While the message was specifically for Prince Edward Island, it’s a message that carries weight across Canada.

Sgt. Leanne Butler says RCMP is aware of the increased risk of drunk drivers at this time of the year and will be making more effort to stop offenders.

“It’s a terrible time of year to be caught for impaired or actually have a collision caused by someone impaired,” she said.

When the clock strikes midnight and 2018 moves into 2019, new nationwide laws will come into action. Police will receive more power and will be able to conduct a roadside breathalyzer test without suspicion of impaired driver.

On this New Year’s Eve, those new rules will play a role in how RCMP will police the night. Butler says anyone who consumers marijuana or drink should plan ahead and have their sober ride home pre-organized. She also warned drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

“People are distracted, they’re in a hurry, they’re trying to get everything done and we want to make sure that when people are still rushing around that they pay attention to their driving,” she said.

“Don’t be on your cell phone, don’t be distracted by your list of what you have to do. Pull over at the side of the road if you have to make a phone call. If your children are in the car, they’re very excited this time of year, make sure they’re properly buckled in so that if there is a collision everybody is safe in the car.”