Calibration raises concerns about breathalyzers


grumpydigger
#1
A Vancouver defence lawyer says the problems police are experiencing with improperly calibrated breathalyzers are only the tip of the iceberg.
Yesterday, Port Moody police revealed improperly calibrated devices led to 14 invalid roadside suspensions for drunk driving in 2011. The government has promised to erase the suspensions from the drivers' records and reimburse any fines or fees.
But lawyer Paul Doroshenko says compensating the drivers is not going to be that simple.
"I don't know what you do. We are talking about people who have lost their jobs, huge embarrassment for people. People had to try and explain it to their families. It's humiliating," he says.
Apart from the issues with calibration and now compensation, Doroshenko says there is a bigger problem with the system.
His concern is the tough impaired driving laws that allow police to issue roadside suspensions that can cost drivers thousands of dollars in fines and fees without setting foot inside a courtroom.
A review of the breathalyzer tests that led the Port Moody Police Department to issue immediate roadside prohibitions in 2011 found that about 8 per cent of the tests were invalid due to improper device calibration. (CBC)"No roadside breath testing is ever reliable enough to be to justify punishment. It's a frightening scheme we have in B.C.," he said.
Doroshenko says he devices are just not accurate enough to replace more accurate testing methods like blood tests.
"It was intended to be used as a screener to assist police officers in forming an opinion as to whether they should take you back to the detachment." Calibration raises concerns about breathalyzers - British Columbia - CBC News

In the madd fervor, to jump on the politically correct bandwagon against impaired driving the government , The police and the special-interest groups have lost sight of reality.

if one person is saved, by taking away the civil rights and freedoms of everyone who has a single beer .

the trouble is the police , and these roadside screening device toys cannot be trusted to be responsible enough to have the power to totally destroy someone's life.
 
taxslave
#2
This was never designed to stop drunk drivers. It was set up as a profit center for governments. MADD is just a convenient strawman.
 
petros
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

This was never designed to stop drunk drivers. It was set up as a profit center for governments. MADD is just a convenient strawman.

Form a pro-drinking group.
 
taxslave
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Form a pro-drinking group.

I don't drink.
 
petros
#5
You don't have to.
 
damngrumpy
#6
Here is a classic case of how abuse of power ends up rearing its ugly head exposing
injustice. The Provincial Government is being forced to make up for this injustice in
the first place. The Breathalyzers were not working properly and innocent people who
were not in violation of the law were imposed upon by the State.
The system in BC allows for roadside devices to take measurements and impose a
harsh penalty without people having their day in court that in itself is not justice. Now
we suspect that many of these devices may have been defective, I would say it is up to
the police to produce the records of all devices and their service update intervals and if
not all their efforts should be overturned.
People were denied justice, they had to pay in many cases over four thousand in fines.
They lost their licence, vehicles sometime impounded, some lost their jobs and we don't
know if they were guilty. There are fourteen cases we know about and hundreds more
that could be suspect.
All too often lately we hear about illegal activity when it comes to the police now we find
out they are too lazy to service the breathalyzers. I think the iceberg should be melted to
find out just how wide spread the problem is. I think we have to get drunk drivers off the
road I had a brother killed by one, I have a Grandson who is handicapped for life because
of one, but the system of justice cannot go about punishing people on suspicion or probable
guilt. Justice must be applied evenly and correctly
 
Tonington
#7
I've often wondered about the police radar guns. I'd like to see the calibration log or any other log detailing the types of checks that would verify the unit operates within the stated parameters. That would include the NIST certificate for the tuning fork the radar gun was calibrated against, and the storage location and handling of said tuning fork. I'm skeptical that those records are up to the standards I have to follow at work...
 
grumpydigger
#8
1,137 B.C. drunk driving penalties to be refunded - British Columbia - CBC News At least 1,137 B.C. drivers who were penalized under B.C.'s tough impaired driving laws will be getting some of their money back, B.C.'s Deputy Superintendent of Motor Vehicles has confirmed.
Deputy Supt. Stephanie Melvin says any of the drivers who had their licence suspended will also get it back, but the offence will remain on the drivers' records.
Some of the affected drivers paid more than $2,600 to attend the driver education programs and install the ignition-lock systems in their vehicles.
Any money they paid for the programs will be refunded, said Melvin.
"We've gone through and are releasing these people from their requirements to do the remedial programs, which is the responsible driver program education and counselling and the ignition interlock program," she said.
The drivers were caught during a three-week period in November 2011 just before the B.C. Supreme Court ruled parts of B.C.'s tough drunk driving rules were unconstitutional.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jon Sigurdson ruled that penalties for drivers were too serious for the law to have no adequate appeal system.
Justice Minister Shirley Bond said last month the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles was reviewing the roadside prohibitions.
Law amended

The impaired driving law was amended by the government last May, in order to strengthen the rights of accused impaired drivers to challenge roadside screening tests and appeal immediate roadside prohibitions.
The amended law requires police to inform drivers of their right to challenge their first roadside screening test by requesting a second test on a different machine.
Meanwhile Vancouver lawyer Paul Doroshenko says he has filed legal challenges over driver penalty program, arguing it appeared to be mandatory despite some drivers having perfect driving records prior to the roadside prohibition.
Doroshenko says he's now considering launching legal test cases that could challenge the 35,000 penalties issued to B.C. drivers since the province introduced its new impaired laws in September 2010.
Accused drivers are also granted more power to appeal and seek reviews through the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.
Yesterday, Port Moody police revealed improperly calibrated devices led to 14 invalid roadside suspensions for drunk driving in 2011. The government has promised to erase the suspensions from the drivers' records and reimburse any fines or fees.
 
damngrumpy
#9
Can these people do anything right? First the BC Government decides to sacrifice the
individual rights of people to have their day in court to save money. Now we find out
the incompetence of those administering a dictatorial program, have punished many who
were not guilty. Of course not many will mind us paying back 1137 people for our nasty
habit of punishing them. There are almost thirty thousand cases that may be challenged
yet and I hope they nail this government right between the eyes for their undemocratic
behaviour and many said this would be the case and it turned out the Liberal Government
made another huge error.
 
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