Port Moody police admit to breathalyzer error
CTV British Columbia
Published Monday, September 17, 2012 9:21PM PDT
Port Moody police have admitted to an administrative error that could potentially taint the results of 50 failed breathalyzer tests, following a CTV News investigation into the matter last week.
The department issued a statement Monday acknowledging that an officer had written an incorrect expiry date onto numerous forms issued for roadside bans in that Metro Vancouver municipality.
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.
The mistakes, which date back to June 15, have already resulted in one suspected drunk driver being let back onto the road.
“It’s unfortunate. I’m sure the officer who issued the [immediate roadside prohibition] is upset,” said Const. Luke van Winkel. “Drinking and driving is a serious problem in the community. When the mistake falls on our end for letting people back on the road, it’s a hard one to swallow.”
The case in question was won by lawyer Paul Doroshenko, whose client was able to reclaim his driver’s licence after failing two separate breathalyzer tests in August.
Doroshenko told CTV News last week he’s hoping to have all the impaired driving bans issued in Port Moody since mid-June overturned.
“You have no idea whether the device has been properly serviced,” he said. “I don’t think the public can have any confidence in this scheme when we repeatedly find these problems.”
Police say they have passed on their findings to the Superintendant of Motor Vehicles, and encourage drivers to contact them if they want to appeal their penalty.
The Superintendant says they will expedite those reviews.
Port Moody’s handling of the screening devices was also called into question in October 2011, when Doroshenko raised concerns about how they calibrated the equipment.
The department decided on disciplinary action for the officer responsible, but is still reviewing how many drivers were affected and what should happen to them.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Mi-Jung Lee
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