Motorists who are marginally over the legal limit of alcohol in a road side test are to lose their right to demand a blood test under the government’s plans to tighten the laws against drink driving.
Under the current law, drink drivers who have been breathalysed at the roadside and are a fraction over the limit can use a legal loophole to cause a long enough delay to allow the alcohol to disappear from their system. Motorists can demand a blood test and while the police find a nurse or doctor to take the blood sample, they can sober up.
The Transport Minister, Philip Hammond, has announced that the government intends to close this loophole by removing the right to demand a blood test. The change will mean that the breath test taken on arrival at the police station will count as evidence in court.
Further controls are in the pipeline – the government is developing a breath test for the side of the road that can be used as evidence in court.
However, the government has decided to follow recommendations and not lower the drink drive limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to only 50 milligrams. Safe-driving campaigners have criticised this decision.
The Telegraph newspaper has reported that the government is also planning to reform the laws on drug driving. Under current law, a motorist will only be guilty of an offence if the police can prove that the presence of illegal drugs in their system impaired their performance.
The government’s plans to make it an offence to have illegal drugs in the bloodstream will bring the country’s drug-driving laws in to line with those of other countries, such as Australia and Spain.
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