24th Jun, 2018

Search is on for instant roadside breathalyser in drink drive crackdown

Rob George 13th Jun, 2018

DRINK drivers across West Mercia could face swifter justice with plans for new roadside breathalyser technology which will allow police to gather on-the-spot evidence.

Mobile breath tests to allow police to take a breath sample from suspect drivers at the roadside are being sought as part of a £350,000 Government competition to encourage companies to bring the technology to the market.

The hope is that an instant test would mean suspects would not need to be taken back to a police station for a further test as is currently the case.

It would also mean those marginally over the drink drive limit will not have extra time to ‘sober up’ and stand a chance of passing a later test at the station. Crucially, it would also free up police time and resources.

The latest figures show fewer people died on British roads in 2015 as a result of drink driving than in any year since records began.

In 2016, more than 460,000 people undertook breath tests with almost 59,000 testing positively or refusing a test.

The competition is being run by PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) in the summer, and will invite companies to submit proposed technologies which can rapidly calculate the amount of ethanol in exhaled breath for use at the roadside.

It is expected police forces throughout the UK will be able to use the device by summer 2020.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “The drink drive limit has helped to give us one of the safest road networks in the world but there is always more we can do.

“This new mobile breathalyser technology will enable the police to enforce the alcohol limit more rigorously on those who still choose to drive after drinking, putting others at risk.”

The Government has also announced investigation teams dedicated to analysing the cause of road collisions will be introduced later this year, as part of plans to improve road safety.

Supported by £480,000 of government funding, the RAC Foundation will lead the trial of an innovative new approach to road casualty investigation alongside police forces, with dedicated teams carrying out in-depth research in selected cases to get a better understanding of what caused an accident.

RAC Foundation Director Steve Gooding said: “We are keen to seize the opportunity to work with the Department for Transport the Police and others to explore the scope for learning more about the causes of the road crashes which continue to blight – and curtail – so many lives.”

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