The New Westminster Police are rolling out a new breathalyzer that’s new to British Columbia.
It’s called the Alco Sensor FST, and New Westminster is the first police force in B.C. to purchase them.
The technology has been in use in Alberta for several years.
Criminal lawyer Paul Doroshenko says the current breathalyzers being used –the Alco Sensor 4 —; are defective.
“I think they are defective breathalyzers,” he says. “They shouldn’t be using defective breathalyzers and they (RCMP) know it —; there’s lots of e-mails about them knowing it’s a bad batch.”
Doroshenko says the RCMP have been buying new versions of the old model to replace the ones that were in the “bad batch” of 2,500 purchased in the Spring of 2010.
He says the current breathalyzers being used are a “25 year old technology.”
Still, the new technology isn’t perfect either.
“It’s got a lot of the same problems as the old one,” says Doroshenko. “It can’t distinguish whether it’s alcohol from your mouth or your lungs, if you’ve been smoking and you blow into it, it will damage the device, and if you burp, you will still get an inaccurate reading, because it can’t distinguish what the source of the alcohol is.”
“It has more advanced software and from what I can see, the electronics are an improvement, but you have to remember, there is no roadside screening device that is used anywhere else in the world to punish people,” says Doroshenko.
Doroshenko says RCMP have not moved to new machines despite knowing there is a problem because there isn’t enough money to train everyone on the new devices.
He says New Westminster is able to switch over to the new breathalyzers because it’s a smaller detachment and there are less to purchase.