Government revving up to reform drink drive laws

As you may have heard on the BBC news today the Government is planning to reform drink drive laws.

Moves to reduce the blood alcohol limit from 80mg of alcohol in 100mg of blood to just 50mg have failed but the drink drive laws are to be overhauled. One of the key changes proposed is to scrap the current law that allows drivers whose breath/alcohol limit is less than 40mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath to opt for blood to be taken as well. This is currently seen as a bit of a loophole in the law as by the time a nurse of doctor is located to take the sample, the chances are your reading will have reduced taking you below the legal limit.

Phillip Hammond the Transport Secretary has said that the testing devices currently used by the police are now so accurate that a back up option is no longer required. The reforms will also allow the road side breath test to be used in court as evidence. Currently the road side test is not evidence of your level of alcohol, simply a preliminary test that shows only that you have passed or failed but doesn’t record the level of alcohol in your system. Again in borderline cases this is seen as an advantage to drivers as it buys them more time for their alcohol levels to reduce in the time it takes to get to the police station, booked into custody and only then, to take the currently approved evidential breath test. This means for borderline cases, more people are likely to fall foul of the law.

The crackdown will also focus on drug driving with moves towards making approved portable drug testing devices available that will eventually be used both for road side breath tests and at the police station. Currently the police are required to wait for a doctor to advise whether a suspect has a suspected drug related condition for testing but the proposals will allow a custody nurse to make that decision, speeding up the process and leaving less time for any suspected drugs to be eliminated from your system.

We will keep you updated on this subject as soon as there are further developments. For now the law is unchanged and if you want to know more, check out our drink drive factsheet.

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