Southwest drivers are anticipating the new rule of mandatory alcohol screening at all routine traffic stops, which will come into effect on April 1. 

Implementing alcohol screening would only add another 90 seconds to each stop and has been proven to curb the number of drivers under the influence. 

Staff Sergeant Evan Gordon of the Swift Current RCMP is keen to keep the roads safe for the community and reduce fatalities related to impaired driving.

"As the name suggests, the screening is mandatory," said Gordon. "We want to ensure that people are aware of it and that they have to comply with that demand that's made."

Refusal to provide a breath sample can result in criminal charges, license suspensions, vehicle impoundment, driver demerit points, and fines.

In Swift Current from April 2023 to Dec. 2023, around 30 drivers were charged with DWI, although the average impaired driver isn't caught until about their 80th time, according to SGI.

Sask. RCMP charged 2, 209 people with impaired driving or refusal to blow throughout 2023 and suspended a total of 1, 394 licenses, including experienced and new drivers.

"Impairment is a factor in approximately 30 per cent or 1/3 of all fatal collisions within Sask," Gordon noted. "So really the purpose of the MAS is to improve road safety." 

The screening will use existing equipment and requires no extra training or funds, as officers often have to get breath samples when called to the site of certain collisions or following up on possible impaired or erratic driving reports. 

"Impaired driving is very exsistent in our community," said Gordon. "I think that this mandatory alcohol screening is just one more tool for our police officers here, locally, to prevent impaired driving and locate, identify, and hold accountable those drivers."