Motorists who fail a breath test by a small amount may have their right to a blood or urine test removed. This will close the loophole that gives drivers vital time to sober up while they wait for a blood or urine sample to be taken at the police station.
Currently around 8% of drivers arrested for drink-driving opt for a second chance blood test and one quarter of those who have done so in a police station where there is no doctor have escaped prosecution because they have sobered up enough by the time the doctor arrives to carry out the test. This tactic also means they escape higher motor insurance premiums because they do not have to inform their insurance firm that they have been banned.
The Coalition Government want to streamline enforcement against drink-driving and give police the option of skipping the secondary breath test at a police station. Everyone involved is determined to make the job of dealing with drink-drivers easier so that bringing offenders to justice is not left to chance. The Government want to roll out sophisticated roadside breath test devices, which will remove the need for a trip to the police station as soon as they get Home Office approval.
Stephen Hammond, the road safety minister, said “We have made great progress in tackling drink-drivers and the 2011 fatality figure for drink-and-drive accidents is the second lowest ever recorded. However, last year, 280 people died in these types of accident, ruining the lives of families up and down the country, so more needs to be done to eradicate this menace. That is why we are taking forward a package of measures to streamline enforcement against drink-driving.”
The planned change is just one of many drink driving measures the government are hoping to bring in and means the police will now be able to conduct urine and blood tests rather than breathalysing drivers. This means that drink drivers won’t be able to sober up on the journey to testing facilities.