Government funds development of new drink-drive breathalyser

Police are to be given new roadside breathalysers designed to prosecute more drink-drivers.

The devices will allow officers to carry out breath tests which can be used as evidence.

Drivers who give a positive reading at the roadside are currently taken to a police station where proof is obtained in further tests.

This gives those who are marginally over the limit extra time to sober up enough to pass a test.

Jesse Norman
Jesse Norman

The Government is committing £350,000 for a competition which will see companies develop a new mobile breathalyser.

It is expected police forces throughout the UK will be able to use the device by summer 2020.

In 2016, more than 460,000 people were breathalysed, with almost 59,000 testing positive or refusing a test.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: "The drink-drive limit has helped to give us one of the safest road networks in the world but there is always more we can do.

"This new mobile breathalyser technology will enable the police to enforce the alcohol limit more rigorously on those who still choose to drive after drinking, putting others at risk."

Meanwhile motoring research charity the RAC Foundation is being given £480,000 of Government funding to launch a trial of investigation teams working with the police, Highways England and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to analyse road crashes.

Collisions will be analysed in three regions over three years.

There are already accident investigation branches for rail, maritime and air incidents.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: "We are keen to seize the opportunity to work with the Department for Transport, the police and others to explore the scope for learning more about the causes of the road crashes that continue to blight - and curtail - so many lives."