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In our latest insight article, we share thoughts about the announcement this spring that from April 1, 2024, the  Saskatchewan RCMP will be conducting roadside Mandatory Alcohol Screenings (MAS) on all lawful traffic stops in Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction on an ongoing basis – and Implementing automatic impoundment and suspension

Police Road Side Testing In Saskatchewan.

Implementing automatic impoundment and suspension for certain driving offences in Saskatchewan is ostensibly intended to address road safety concerns, deter dangerous driving, and enhance public safety. However, there are potential dangers and drawbacks to consider:


  1. Automatic Punishment: Driving is often considered a privilege, but automatic impoundment and suspensions impose severe consequences on individuals, potentially disproportionate to the offence committed. This could affect individuals who may have committed a minor infraction unintentionally or due to circumstances beyond their control. Moreover, individuals suffer the punishment, i.e., impoundment, before receiving their day in court. While the law may not see this as “punishment,” try telling that to someone who just had their vehicle taken away or who has to pay the storage costs to retrieve their vehicle.
  2. Presumption of Guilt: The police effectively become judge and jury as the mere charge is sufficient to invoke the consequences. Most would consider this a violation of the right to be presumed innocent. People, having already suffered the consequences, may be less likely to try and defend the charges. After all, some may wonder what would be the point?
  3. Impact on Livelihood: For individuals who rely on driving for their livelihood, such as commercial drivers or those with essential jobs, automatic impoundment and suspension could have significant financial and social consequences. Losing the ability to drive could result in job loss or financial hardship for these individuals and their families. The fines and costs associated with impoundment could be seen as a mere cash-grab.
  4. Potential for Legal Challenges: There may be legal challenges regarding the fairness and constitutionality of automatically imposing impoundment and suspension without considering individual circumstances or allowing for procedural fairness. This could result in legal disputes and further burden the legal system.
  5. Limited Impact on Repeat Offenders: While automatic impoundment and suspension may deter some individuals from committing driving offenses, it may not effectively address the root causes of dangerous driving behaviors, particularly for repeat offenders. More comprehensive approaches, such as education, rehabilitation, and addressing underlying issues like substance abuse or mental health issues, may have been a more reasonable approach and suggest that the concern is more about money than safety.
  6. Resource Allocation: Implementing automatic impoundment and suspension requires significant resources for enforcement, administration, and managing impounded vehicles. This could strain existing resources and divert attention from other road safety initiatives or priorities.
  7. Potential for Unintended Consequences: There is a risk that automatic impoundment and suspension could lead to unintended consequences, such as increased hardship for marginalized communities or incentivizing risky behaviors to avoid detection. The increased costs suggest people might be more inclined to fight charges of driving infractions, but having the punishment implemented early may motivate them to just pay and move on, regardless of innocence or guilt.
While the proposed changes aim to improve road safety, it’s essential to carefully consider the potential dangers and unintended consequences to ensure a balanced and effective approach to addressing driving offenses. Additionally, measures to provide support and alternatives for affected individuals should be considered alongside enforcement actions

As always, your first consultation with us is free, so don’t hesitate to reach out so we can meet you and determine what you need and how we can work together for you.


MacKay & McLean Trusted Regina Lawyers