The government has declared its intention to utilise new roadside breathalysers, which might result in an additional 6,000 drink-driving convictions every year.
The breath test technique is currently in two stages; anyone who tests positive on the roadside will be detained and sent to a police station for a second test. This is known as the ‘evidential test,’ and it is what every prosecution judgement is based on.
Because of declining alcohol levels over time, the delay between the initial positive breath test and the one conducted at the police station may be substantial enough to assure that a person blows a negative reading (although in some cases the reverse can also happen).
While ‘back calculation’ statutes exist, the evidence foundation is insufficient to justify their employment in this case. As a result, it’s possible that some drunk drivers get away with it.
Although legislation allowing for a definitive roadside evidentiary breath test method already exists, the government today announced a competition aimed at device makers, with the goal of having suitable devices certified and in use by 2020.
Every year, around 460,000 breath tests are performed, with approximately 59,000 persons reporting a positive result.
Approximately 6,000 people give a positive result on the roadside but are later found to be within the legal limit when tested at the police station; such persons will now be prosecuted.
In many cases, these are people who have ‘taken a chance’ on a brief midday drink or who have not given themselves enough time to recover from the night before.
The revisions will also limit the use of so-called “loophole defences,” which have become popular as a result of the intricacies of police station procedures. Once the new technologies are in use, it is believed that decades of case law will become obsolete. However, we know from experience that when one legal issue is resolved, another arises!
Drink driving carries serious consequences, including minimum periods of disqualification, steep financial penalties, and high insurance premiums for years to come. Offenders often lose their jobs as a result of their actions. ‘One for the road’ is frequently very expensive.
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