New rules that increase penalties for drunk driving and expand police powers to demand breath samples take effect across Canada on Tuesday, with some predicting the law will face a series of legal challenges.
The legislation, which passed in June at the same time as new rules for drug-impaired driving, is intended to curb injuries and death by helping police catch drivers with more than the legal limit of alcohol in their bloodstreams.
It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop, lowering the bar from the previous legislation, which required that an officer have reasonable suspicion that a person had been drinking. Such a system is already in place in more than 40 countries.
Toronto-based lawyer Michael Engel, who often defends those charged with impaired driving, said the new rules are a big change that raise concerns about baseless searches.