Drink driving loophole closed

Right-minded motorists everywhere will be pleased with today’s announcement from the Department for Transport which plans to remove the statutory right to a blood or urine test for drink drivers.

It will make it much easier for police to arrest a drunk driver.

The move will hit those drivers who give a reading that is just above, but close to the legal limit.

It will also, it’s claimed, catch those motorists who are stopped by police but refuse a roadside breath test but opt for a blood test instead.

Essentially, they are playing for time in a bid to sober up and pass the second test and avoid a ban.

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said: “I am determined to make the jobs of those who deal with drink drivers easier and less bureaucratic so that bringing offenders to justice is not left to chance.”

Currently, drivers who record less than 50 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath have the right to demand a blood or urine test – despite being over the legal limit of 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres. This is known as the statutory option.

But this option dates back to the original introduction of breathalyser technology when there were concerns over reliability but with the advances in modern kit this is no longer neccessary.

Neil Greig, the director of policy and research at the Institute of Motorists, told Firstvehicleleasing: “In 2011 the number of people killed in drink driving accidents increased by 12 per cent – the first increase in more than 30 years.

“With ‘beat the breathalyser’ pills legally on sale in the UK and a disproportionate number of younger drink-drivers, I’m worried that drink-driving could be losing its stigma.”

He added: “These proposals are very welcome but must be accompanied by higher-profile drink-driving campaigns, and not just at Christmas. Drivers need to know about the devastating consequences of drink-driving and drink-drivers need to know that they will be caught and punished.”

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