Government plan to prevent offenders avoiding prosecution
16 March 2009

Drivers will no longer be able to demand a blood test after failing a breathalyser test, under plans announced by the Government today.

Drivers who produce a breath sample of over 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres are currently allowed to request a blood test if their roadside breath sample was recorded between 35 and 50 micrograms.

The Government plans to close this loophole as it allows time for driver’s blood-alcohol level to drop to an acceptable level while they wait for a doctor to perform the test. It says that advances in the quality of roadside breathalysers means they are now foolproof.

"If you are arrested at the roadside and taken in for the evidential test, the police have to call a doctor out and that can take a couple of hours, during which time your level will have gone down," a spokesperson for the DfT said.

However, critics have said the move is ill-advised because breath-test technology is still imperfect. They say the change will mean innocent drivers are wrongly convicted.

Latest figures show that over 450 people are killed each year and more than 14,000 injured as a result of drink driving.

No date for the change in testing procedures has been set yet.


George Barrow


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