Drunk driving penalties overturned for 14 motorists
CTV British Columbia
Published Thursday, January 31, 2013 3:59PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:48PM PST
The B.C. government is cancelling immediate roadside prohibitions and penalties against 14 suspected drunk drivers due to faulty breathalyzer readings in one Metro Vancouver municipality.
Port Moody Police revealed Thursday a forensic audit had found of the 174 roadside driving bans the department handed out in 2011, more than a dozen were based on improperly calibrated machines.
Hours later, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles announced that affected drivers would be contacted shortly, and may be eligible to receive restitution.
“A mistake was made by Port Moody Police and we are now working to rectify the situation as quickly as possible,” said Superintendent Steve Martin.
“Police need to follow the standards and expectations around [approved screening device] calibration.”
The Port Moody Police Department previously admitted to CTV News that an officer had written an incorrect device expiry date onto numerous forms issued for roadside bans.
Breathalyzer screening devices are supposed to have two expiry dates: one that indicates when the unit must be recalibrated, and another that indicates when the unit must be sent back to the manufacturer for testing. The affected Port Moody forms had the former marked down twice instead.
Police confirmed disciplinary action was taken against the officer involved, but would not say the extent of the punishment.
The Ministry of Justice has also sent a notice to police agencies reminding them to adhere to proper breathalyzer protocols and standards.