Drivers who are marginally over the drink drive limit when stopped by the police are going to lose the right to demand a blood test after the biggest changes to the drink drive law in over 40 years comes into place.
The Transport Secretary intends to plug the loophole which enables drivers to sober up while the police try and find a doctor or nurse to carry out the blood test. This is just one of a series of far reaching changes unveiled as part of the coalition’s response to the recommendations on road safety. However, the Government has upset road safety campaigners because a call for the drink drive limit to be cut from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to only 50 will not be brought in.
Scrapping the right of a driver to demand a blood test is seen as a vital tool in stopping motorists who try and play for extra time in the hope that some of the alcohol will have gone from their bloodstream. The Department for Transport claim that removing the right to demand a blood test will probably lead to 5,000 more drink drive convictions a year. Anyone convicted of drink driving will see an increase in premiums when they next look for a motor insurance quote after serving a driving ban.
The change will mean that a driver will have to take a breath test as soon as they arrive at the police station but this will be tightened even further by introducing machines which will allow breath tests to take place at the roadside. The Coalition also plans to clamp down on drug drivers.
Mr Hammond said “It is just as dangerous to drive impaired by drugs as alcohol so we need to send a clear message that drug drivers are as likely to be caught as drink drivers and that drug driving is as socially unacceptable as drink driving has become. The number of drink driving deaths has fallen by more than 75% since 1979. But drink driving still kills hundreds of people so we need to take tough action against the small minority of drivers who flagrantly ignore the limit.”