Random breath tests to hit drink-drivers

#1
here
The Times said:
February 27, 2007

Random breath tests to hit drink-drivers
Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent
Motorists face random breath testing under government plans to reduce the toll of deaths and serious injuries from drink driving, The Times has leant.

Ministers believe that giving the police the power to stop any driver, regardless of how they are driving, would be a powerful deterrent.

Research has shown that many drivers exceed the alcohol limit because they believe that they can still drive safely and they know 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.

The number of people killed in drink-drive crashes 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, published yesterday, 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.

Ministers are also considering establishing an incentive scheme for designated drivers, but the Government is continuing to resist calls for the blood-alcohol limit to be lowered from 80mg to the European average of 50mg. The review acknowledged that many bodies, including the police and road safety groups, had called for the limit to be lowered and said that it would keep it under review. It added, however, that Britain had more stringent penalties than other countries that had lower limits. Drivers caught exceeding the limit in Britain get an automatic 12-month ban while some other countries impose only a fine.

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.

Rob Gifford, the director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said: "Giving police this power will make many people think they have a greater chance of being caught.”

The RAC Foundation said that it would not oppose giving the police the power to conduct random breath tests but doubted whether it would make much difference to road safety. Edmund King, its director, said: “To be honest, they can already stop anyone they like and say they have wandered too close to the centre of the road. If you carry out targeted breath testing, you are more likely to get positive results than testing people randomly.”

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. But this power cannot be used until a suitable roadside testing device has been approved by the Home Office.

The Department for Transport is also testing alcolocks, which are fitted to the cars of convicted drink drivers. The ignition is unlocked only when the driver gives a negative breath sample
 
#2
Annual breath test carried out. In excess of 500,000
Number proving positive. Less than 100,000

So when they pick people up for motoring offences or have other suspicions that they might be drunk behond the wheel they get it right less than 20% of the time. I can't see how doing it at random is going to give better results.
 
#3
Perhaps the government should concentrate on getting more traffic coppers back out on patrols who can catch all manner of motoring offences rather than relying on speed cameras which strangely only catch speeding vehicles.
 
#4
EX_STAB said:
Annual breath test carried out. In excess of 500,000
Number proving positive. Less than 100,000

So when they pick people up for motoring offences or have other suspicions that they might be drunk behond the wheel they get it right less than 20% of the time. I can't see how doing it at random is going to give better results.
I am not 100% on this but I thought the police HAVE to breath test anyone in an accident?

If so this would explain the 20%?
 
#5
How many drivers are still over the limit driving to work in the morning after a night out till after 12?

More to the point how many drivers are under the influence of drugs? which as yet cannot be tested for.

20% detected is still to high.

I also doubt if introducing random testing will make any differance,
unless:

Whats the best time to test? After closing time armed with a list of numbers from the pub car parks I surpose!
 
#6
EX_STAB said:
Annual breath test carried out. In excess of 500,000
Number proving positive. Less than 100,000

So when they pick people up for motoring offences or have other suspicions that they might be drunk behond the wheel they get it right less than 20% of the time. I can't see how doing it at random is going to give better results.
It's supposed to work as a deterrent I think. The fact that you can be stopped purely to provide a breath specimen (though I think most police officers would say that if you can't find another reason to stop a vehicle you shouldn't be doing the job!) and at random is supposed to give you that 'what if there's a checkpoint or it's just my day to be stopped' type feeling.

Works well in other countries.
 
#7
It's supposed to work as a deterrent I think. The fact that you can be stopped purely to provide a breath specimen (though I think most police officers would say that if you can't find another reason to stop a vehicle you shouldn't be doing the job!) and at random is supposed to give you that 'what if there's a checkpoint or it's just my day to be stopped' type feeling.
I don't want to live in a country where I have a fear of," What if there's a checkpoint?"

As previously stated it's a pretty unimaginative copper who can't find an excuse to pull you over. But officially at random, no sir.
 
#8
Mike_2817 said:
How many drivers are still over the limit driving to work in the morning after a night out till after 12?

More to the point how many drivers are under the influence of drugs? which as yet cannot be tested for.

20% detected is still to high.

I also doubt if introducing random testing will make any differance,
unless:

Whats the best time to test? After closing time armed with a list of numbers from the pub car parks I surpose!
you're not entirely correct on that point mate, I recently watched one of those cop 'shows' on sky, they followed a copper on his rounds in some chav ridden town (could be anywhere then couldnt it!!) and he was stopping drivers and using verbal, tests, visual perception ete etc. to catch the druggies, he could arrest them if he considered them under the imfluence of a banned substance and carry out urine tests back at the cop shop!!

He had gone on a course to discover the secrets of spotting druggies, but obviously they wouldnt show all the tests, i think he was probably one of about 5 trained like this in the whole country!! tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime...right on!!
 
#9
sanchauk said:
It's supposed to work as a deterrent I think. The fact that you can be stopped purely to provide a breath specimen (though I think most police officers would say that if you can't find another reason to stop a vehicle you shouldn't be doing the job!) and at random is supposed to give you that 'what if there's a checkpoint or it's just my day to be stopped' type feeling.
I don't want to live in a country where I have a fear of," What if there's a checkpoint?"

As previously stated it's a pretty unimaginative copper who can't find an excuse to pull you over. But officially at random, no sir.
A good point (I meant alcohol testing checkpoints rather than anything else) but it already happens in some parts of the country during the Christmas season (certainly Lancs. and Cumbria), so it would be an extension of what exists now rather than anything new.
 
#10
[quote="sanchauk]I don't want to live in a country where I have a fear of," What if there's a checkpoint?"

As previously stated it's a pretty unimaginative copper who can't find an excuse to pull you over. But officially at random, no sir.[/quote]

Excuse me if I appear a little facetious for a minute.

Yeah - it's not as if the powers that be are making us carry id cards, is it?....perhaps the next step......ah b*gger - already planning that one....ehhh....stop and search powers with spurious reasons only required?....nope, that one's in too...prosecution of individuals using peaceful protest calling for political change.....yup - got that one covered......

I take it we are calling these effective police powers.

Sounds like the only thing that is save us from the existance of a police state is the amount of red tape that the cops have to deal with on a day for day basis per arrest.

But did I not see something in print about a new initiative to get more police back out on the streets by reducing the paperwork required for arrests?

Oh B*gger.

Do we really want that? :roll:
 
#11
Mr_Deputy said:
If we had better boozers with better 'soft drinks' then it might bloody well help. Trying to relax after a hard day with a sodding Britvic (it aint fruit) and a shite coffee with a sodding Rombouts plastic 'hat' on it is enough to drive anyone to drink.

And keep coffee / tea shops open later!! Cafe Neros etc are not a bad place to have a chat in probably but they close so early.

Give us an alternative landlords. Pull your fingers out.
good point... As well as more options on the soft drink front, cheaper soft drinks might help too. who knows, they could even follow the US designated driver system, where the DD gets free or cheap drinks...

Personally, mine's a pint, but I walk to the boozer
 
#12
I hope the police don't mind that if I'm driving along minding my own and I'm then subsequently asked to blow in a box or perform aerobics to confirm I'm as sober and drug free as I say I am, that I might get randomly annoyed.
 
#14
How long have gobments been advocating "don't drink and drive"? 30 year, 40 years? No idea. But it still seems to have had only a negligible effect on the number of fatalities caused every year by drunk drivers.

If these random stops were generally introduced, coupled with an alcohol limit of ZERO (as opposed to all this faffing about with 0.8, 0.5 or zero-point-whatfückinever), I think it might make a real difference in the long run. Particularly if the first dozen or so caught under the "new rules" were summarily executed by firing squad. That'd teach 'em!

MsG
 

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