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August 2015

Police Roll Out New Breathalyzers



BC Police forces have begun using the new Alco-Sensor FST for use in Immediate Roadside Prohibitions.  This new breathalyzer has several important differences over the previously used versions.  The new version has been designed to attempt to limit the amount of user-errors by the police that were being observed and leading to unreliable results.

First, the device is programmed to not accept a sample if it is expired.  It is also programmed to not accept a sample if it is outside of the now-expanded temperature range.

Secondly, the device has a completely different set of messages that are possible compared to the old devices.

This will likely eliminate many of the factors that would historically lead to unreliable test results with previous devices, but there are still some factors that can indicate whether an FST reading is reliable or not.

If you have received an Immediate Roadside Prohibition, it is very important to have an experienced lawyer review your case and get proper legal advice as to whether your test results can be relied upon.


The Unsettling Unfairness of the IRP Regime

The Immediate Roadside Prohibition regime became effective September 20, 2010. The police, not without their own failings, would determine the fate of any individual pulled over, or otherwise detained, to blow into a roadside screening device. Police officers’ reports of what took place at a roadside stop would fundamentally serve as the basis for implementing these penalties under the new regime. Now, three years after the regime was implemented, thousands of drivers have been subjected to the serious penalties mandated by the IRP scheme, and drivers, who formerly would have been dealt with under the criminal system, and many others besides, are now being subject to IRPs instead.

See Kevin Filkow’s full paper on BC’s IRP drinking and driving laws.