"Growing support for breathalyser tests in UK"
Online motoring resource Motortrades.co.uk have revealed increasing support for the UK to replicate France by introducing compulsory self-breathalyser tests, a new survey has revealed.
Earlier this year, our mainland neighbours made it compulsory for every driver to carry a minimum of two personal breathalyser kits in their cars – even if they never consume alcohol. The theory behind the move is that if a driver has consumed alcohol, they can make sure they are not over the legal limit before starting the engine. Those who are discovered not carrying the kits with them while driving face a small fine. French officials hope that the 4,000 road deaths of last year will be reduced to below 3,000 this.
Back in the UK pro self-testing campaigners argue that if the same simple system were introduced here it too could save hundreds of lives. In fact Motortrades’ own research revealed that nine out of ten councillors would be in favour of the idea.
But Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Head of Road Safety Kevin Clinton differs: “We don’t think it would be a good idea because we’re not convinced that these kits are useful. Our main concern is that they may encourage some drivers to try to drink up to the limit and drive instead of avoiding drinking at all, when they know they’re going to be driving.”
Mr. Clinton continued “We don’t think they would help people to avoid drink driving because there’s a danger it would have the opposite effect. We’re also not convinced about how reliable or accurate the readings are. I certainly wouldn’t want to risk my driving license on a £3 blow-in-the bag device.”
While disposable breathalyser tests are very cheap, they can also be inaccurate and pale in comparison with those used by police forces. Ultimately, there is no safe limit when driving with alcohol in the system.
Mr Clinton described how, if personal breathalysers were made compulsory, he feared that police resources dedicated to tackling drink driving directly could be diverted and instead used on making sure drivers have these kits – resulting in a waste of time, money and lives.
RoSPA might support the introduction of breathalysers if it can be proven the law works in France where drunk driving is in fact a larger problem.
He added: “I’d be surprised if it had anything like that effect but I suspect it would also take much longer than a year to be sure about what is happening and why. At the moment we don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest that these kits are a good way of preventing drinking and driving.”