UK drink-drive loophole to be closed

July 4, 2013 | By | In Advice

The Government has announced it is to close a loophole used by drink-drivers looking to escape a driving ban.

Currently, drivers who provide a marginally positive sample of breath can invoke a statutory right to a blood or urine test.

This is available to anyone who fails a breathalyser test with an alcohol reading of 50mg or under, despite the drink-drive limit being 35mg.

However, ministers believe this gives drivers an opportunity to sober up in the time it takes to transfer them to a police station and arrange for a medical professional to conduct the test.

Under a new Bill recently put before Parliament, the legal right to a second test is to be removed, under a raft of measures to be introduced to crack down on drink and drug driving.

Currently around 25 per cent of motorists arrested at the roadside who opt for a blood or urine test are let off, with 1 in 12 drink-drivers invoking this legal right.

The right, known as the ‘statutory option’ was brought in with the introduction of portable breathalysers, and allayed fears over their reliability.

However, thanks to technological advances the Government believes the option is no longer needed, and is even planning to do away with a secondary breath test at the police station, meaning the sample you provide at the roadside is the one that will be used in any potential conviction.

A Whitehall spokesman said: “At the moment results from the evidential test taken at police stations are the only ones able to be used as evidence.

“Under the new Bill, once mobile evidential testing devices are deployed, the police could perform the evidential test at the roadside so the preliminary test would not be required.”

The proposed changes to the law would also increase the number of healthcare professionals allowed to assess a person for drug intoxication, with the aim being to free up doctors’ time.

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