posted 6 years ago

Drink-Drive Loophole To Be Closed

Government proposals could close a loophole that helps drink-drivers escape their convictions.

Government proposals could close a loophole that helps drink-drivers escape their convictions. The limit is 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath and this can be “preliminarily” checked roadside via hand-held breathalysers. These readings are then confirmed at Police Stations via more accurate “evidential“ breathalysers. However, motorists who fail these second tests - but register less than 50 microgrammes of alcohol - have the right to replace this evidence with that from blood or urine tests. This is a throwback to a time when breathalysers were not necessarily amazingly accurate. This verification process can take time. Motorists, after all, might have to wait for medical professionals which gives them time to sober-up enough to pass their blood/urine assessments. The Government is proposing to remove this legal right. Why? Because more accurate roadside “evidential” breathalysers are being rolled-out across the UK. These - the Government proposes - provide reliable enough evidence for legal convictions.

The Government’s proposals which should be unveiled early 2013 could also ensure that repeat offenders, which are some of the most dangerous motorists on the road, are more likely to have their vehicles seized. Government figures show that there has been a rise in the number of motorists being convicted who are habitual drink-drivers. As such, in 2000, 13,299 motorists received at least their second ban for drink-driving. This rose to 19,605 in 2009. Furthermore, 10% of motorists interviewed for the Crime Survey of England and Wales admitted getting behind the wheel while over the drink-drive limit. Furthermore, a survey of 1,000 motorists by road safety charity Brake proved that 50% had driven with at least some alcohol in their systems within the past twelve months - and that 28% had consumed a significant amount then driven the following morning. It is likely many of these were over the legal limit. Brake emphasises that even small amounts of alcohol can affect driving so it is urging motorists not to drive with “any” in their systems.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Hammond, revealed: “We have made great progress in tackling drink drivers and the 2011 fatality figure for drink and drive accidents is the second lowest ever recorded.” Mr Hammond continued: “However, last year 280 people died ruining the lives of families up and down the country so more needs to be done to eradicate this menace. That is why we are taking forward a package of measures to streamline enforcement against drink driving” The Transport Minister concluded: “I am determined to make the jobs of those who deal with drink drivers easier and less bureaucratic so that bringing offenders to justice is not left to chance.”

The consequences of exceeding the drink-drive limit can be severe – even assuming that nobody is killed or injured. As such intoxicated motorists in charge of vehicles face up to three months imprisonment, £2,500 fines, and driving bans. This offence relates to those in or around vehicles with the intention of driving. In contrast, motorists who drive or attempt to drive can receive up to six months imprisonment, £5,000 fines, and twelve month bans. This increases to three years for those convicted twice within a decade. Most seriously, those who cause death by dangerous driving could receive fourteen year sentences, unlimited fines, and two year bans. Finally, motorists who fail to provide breath samples can receive six month prison sentences, £5,000 fines, and one year bans. Coke anybody?

I think anyone that hasn't had 5 Pints and tries to drive should be banned for life. 5 and Drive is the law.

i think anyone who drives after having a drink is a total idiot, that said people still do it. i feel the limit should be lowered to avoid this i can have 2 drinks and be ok mentality, but a zero level may not be the way ahead as there is the morning after, but halving the limit should work. the car should be siezed too but banning people never works as they don't care about being legal, how many police shows have you seen where people are caught driving whilst banned and they get banned again, hello wake up and smell the coffee, the ban does not work as they still drive. the poor police bear the brunt from it all, first on the scene of accidents and having to tell a family someone won't be coming home, made worse when not their fault.

I think Terry Pegg's suggestion to fit equipment to a car that detects alcohol abuse and prevents starting the engine an excellent idea. It would be interesting to see the French figures for drink driving offences as surely this is the way forward.

There are so many issues,this raises every time. My personal thought is the only safe limit for drinking and driving should be zero. This would and any confusion about how much is supposedly 'safe' to consume before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.As for proposing to seize repeat offenders vehicles,I agree the police should seize these vehicles and then either auction them off as they do with drug dealers etc under the proceeds of crime act. If the vehicle is unfit for resale it should be crushed.For to long the government and the law has been too soft on this,it needs to change and very quickly

I have to agree with David, we have to change the attitude of road users, that's including bikers, cyclists and pedestrians included, if we all realise that we share the road we use and behave accordingly, that means not putting anyone else in danger by your actions, in this civilised world you would think its common sense.

The government is considering a lot at the moment, just like the one before them, and them etc etc. If they do start to get tough on drunk drivers, you could almost predict that those that may afford a decent lawyer would probably get any possible convictions overturned anyhow, and you're regular scrotesque banned three times previous types would no doubt go out and get another similar untaxed, uninsured and unroadworthy shed to replace the confiscated one.

why not do what the french have done make it legal to have a breatherlyser fitted to the electrics of your car that way if you are over the d/d limit then car wont start so it then bus/taxi time these breatherlyser kits are not that expensive and at least all it would cost is the price of the mouth pieces and you would be legal to drive the only draw back on that is each time car is stopped you would have to do the breatherlyser

Graham Parsons - don't disagree with what you say, but it distracts for the alcohol problem that needs to be addressed. Dealing with other problems such as you suggest should be done too. Also, I live in the country and have narrowly avoided accidents by aggressive, speeding drivers who think nothing of overtaking at high speed on blind bends. But really there needs to bea change in attitude to driving. It should be seen as a means to an end, not a sport, it should be inculcated not people that gaining an extra few seconds on a journey is not worth the risk. The Bozo Clarkson and his stupid show should be taken off the air. Without a severe shift in social attitudes no amount of punishment will make a difference. Sympathies to Josephine.

Hmmm. How many people are killed by drivers who have taken drugs but get away with it because it cannot be proven? The roads of our town change after about 7.30 when the youngsters take to the streets; screaming tyres, roaring engines etc. They probably haven't been drinking. I am routinely cut up by cars on the motorways, particularly near exits; these instances are recorded on camera yet nothing is done. We seem to have a number of old favourites when it comes to road safety. A bit of new thinking wouldn't go amiss. How about making jaywalking a crime? Lots of people have earphones in the ir ears or phones glued to their heads and step out without looking. Hit them and you get arrested for causing death by dangerous driving. Easy for the cops but it does nothing to address the problem.

If anyone like myself have lost a family member to a drink driver, then! YES. THEY should have their or any vehicle they are driving seized. A car is a lethal weapon in the wrong hands..

Freeman on the Land....

I am going to give my car to the police now, not for drink and driving as i do not drink but they will come up for a reason or new law one day to take it away, besides i tried to get a loan to fill it up ,turned down. I offerd my car as colateral but the bank said I might not have it much longer !