The Timmins Police Services and the Timmins and Area MADD Chapter donated two Dräger alcohol detection devices to the traffic section of the Timmins Police Service yesterday.
The two Dräger Alcotest devices will be used to enhance the safety of Timmins roadways by assisting Timmins Police officers with their duties to identifying potential impaired drivers.
“It’s a welcome addition to the already existing arsenal to detect the presence of alcohol in a driver,” said Marc Depatie, interim Corporate Communication Coordinator for TPS.
“These devices will be additional equipment to the already existing arsenal that the police have in their continuing efforts to eliminate driving while impaired,” Depatie expanded.
“They will be used at the road side where grounds exist for an officer to screen someone to see if they could continue driving or perhaps there is a cause for concern because of their previous consumption of alcohol,” he added.
The Dräger Alcotest device can produce three results.
“One of the three results that may be obtained is that the degree of alcohol was so marginal that there is no further concern,” explained Depatie
“Secondly, the driver may have been drinking to such an extent that their licence should be suspended,” Depatie added.
“In the worst case scenario the person has been drinking so much that they should be charged and additional breath testing take place,” Depatie concluded.
Currently, the TPS has used a device known as the Intoxilyzer a large cumbersome machinery which often fails. In 2012, a judge threw out the results obtained from an Intoxilyzer from a case he was presiding over.
The Dräger Alcotest machines enable the officer to measure the level of intoxication on the spot and determine if the person should be prevented from driving further that day or evening. It is highly portable and extremely accurate in a situation when accuracy is important to determine guilt or innocence.
The Alcotest units according to Depatie have been tested and approved under the criminal code of Canada and are widely used in Canada to help make our roads safer
MADD spokesperson David Tonelli said his organization was pleased to provide the two Alcotest devices to Timmins Police at a cost of $3,000 per unit
“The laws in Canada are very friendly to those who drink and drive,” Tonelli said. “The numbers are going up for drinking and driving charges in Timmins and Canada despite all the advertising tell people they shouldn’t.”
With tragic consequences including the deaths of three children and their grandfather when their van was hit by drunk driver Marco Muzzo north of Toronto. Muzzo was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Though the 10-year sentence in the Muzzo case appears to be tough Tonelli said that in some states the sentence would be life for each death, served sequentially, not concurrently.
Tonelli said he hopes the Dräger units donated to the TPS will be able to take drunk drivers off the road and save lives.
Some Dräger models also can test for the presence of drug-related intoxication and should become more prevalent in police roadside use.
Dräger has decades of experience in breath alcohol testing and has recently developed oral fluid drug screening capability.
For organizations like MADD, preventing alcohol and drug-related accidents are priorities on local and national scales.
The donation of the Dräger units will give TPS the tools they need to implement alcohol and drug detection with great precision so that dangerous drivers can be taken off the road instead of being allowed to get back behind the wheel due to their case being dismissed as a result of faulty readings.
For more information on the Dräger Alcotest click here.