Drivers to be given random breath tests

By KomodoMK · Oct 19, 2008 · Updated Oct 19, 2008 · ·
  1. KomodoMK
    Drivers face random breath testing regardless of how they are driving, under government plans to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by drink driving.

    Any motorist could be stopped by police under the proposals, which ministers believed would provide a more powerful deterrent.

    Research has shown that many drivers exceed the alcohol limit because they believe they can still drive safely and that there is little chance of being caught.

    At present, the police can stop only those drivers who have committed a moving traffic offence or those who they suspect have exceeded the limit.

    Random breath testing has been credited with halving the drink-drive death rate in New South Wales, Australia, and saving more than 4,300 lives.

    Other measures being considered by the government include creating an incentive scheme for designated drivers, but calls for a reduction in the drink-drive limit have been resisted.

    Although the average European blood-alcohol limit is 50mg, Britain remains at 80mg but has more stringent penalties. Drivers caught exceeding the limit in Britain get an automatic 12-month ban while some other countries impose only a fine.

    The death toll from drink-driving has risen by a fifth in the past seven years, from 400 in 1999 to 480 in 2005. Over the same period, the number of breath tests carried out by the police has fallen from 765,000 to 578,000.

    The Government's review of its road safety strategy concluded: "Drink driving is still a major problem, with 17 per cent of road deaths occurring when someone was driving over the legal limit for alcohol."

    It will propose a series of measures in a consultation paper later this year, including random breath testing. It will also consider placing a greater obligation on pub landlords, restaurant owners and service station operators not to allow their customers to drink and drive.

    The law has been changed to allow breath samples taken at the roadside to be used as evidence in court rather than requiring officers to take further samples back at the police station. This power cannot be used, however, until a suitable roadside testing device has been approved by the Home Office.

    The Department for Transport is also testing devices fitted to the cars of convicted drink drivers. The ignition is unlocked only when the driver gives a breath sample that is free from alcohol.


    # Alastair Jamieson
    # Telegraph Online
    # October 18, 2008

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  1. Stephenwolf
    But, if the POLICE can't tell a person is intoxicated by the way they are driving, then aren't they well enough in control of their faculties and not in need of being removed from the road?
  2. Milk man
    Some things just don't make sense.
  3. Pondlife
    Random alcohol testing is a controversial measure in the UK, and it's been proposed before.

    As the article states, at the moment the police can only test drivers if they have committed an offence or if the police suspect that they may be over the limit. That last reason gives the police a way to effectively perform random tests, by "suspecting" the driver and then pulling them over.

    I've heard plenty of anecdotal evidence that random testing already goes on in the UK, it's just not obvious enough to be challenged. What this proposal would do is to allow obvious random testing, like testing every other person leaving a pub car park.
  4. Milk man

    The thing is, atleast in the states, police can pull someone over for just about anything. They will make something up, say you were going to fast(1 mile over speed limit), too slow(3-4 miles under the speed limit), didn't signal for 3 seconds, didn't have your turn signal on 100feet before the turn, didn't make a complete stop, etc. I asked a cop about if they could pull someone over if they weren't wearing a seatbelt, he told me that they would find some reason to pull them over.
  5. Benga
  6. sknkv2
    Random breath testing has been around since I can remember and relatively recently random drug testing has been increased. I say it's fair enough, minor inconvenience to make sure you're safer on the roads.
  7. Stephenwolf
    but if they cannot tell you are intoxicated by how you are driving, you are clearly driving well enough to not be a threat, Random Breath testing isn't going to reduce danger, its going to help fill quotas.
  8. Sitbcknchill
    This would open the door to much more than busting drunk drivers. This is what they are after. This opens up the door to be able to pull anyone over at any time without any criminal offense being committed or the need of any made up excuses to validate the stop. With being able to check more drivers at random, officers will undoubtedly be doing more search and seizures and pissing on everyone's rights. Using alcohol and drunk driving as the gateway because not many seem to argue with that. Remember, it's for the kids.
  9. sknkv2
    Anyone can drive in a straight line for a few k's, especially if only a little bit over the limit. Reacting to any dangers that may pop up is the hard part though.

    It's seriously nothing like that. You pull up, blow in a breathalyzer/do a saliva test and if you're under the limit you are free to go straight away. They usually don't even check your drivers license or plates or anything, at least in Aus. I think it's genuinely there to help curb road deaths.
  10. jon-q
    Make no mistake~If a copper in the uk wants to stop somebody~they will stop you.As one or two have already said random testing happens at the moment anyways especially around christmass time and that's the only time that swim is aware of that they genuinely "Test you and send you on your way.(unless by chance they spot a rizla paper..... LOL)
  11. Milk man
    If swim's friend wasn't high when they were going to a friends house, swim and friend would probably have gotten into a car accident(probably would have plowed into the back of a stopped semi(with a full load) on the freeway going 60mph).

    I know this article is for the the UK, but in the United States, cops will drive on the freeway late Friday and Saturday night running plates on all the drivers in the area. If they have had a previous drunk driving conviction, woop-woop, they get pulled over.
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