THE WEST Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner has rubbished talk of a new breathalyser law similar to the one in France, claiming it would lead drivers into ‘a false sense of security’ and do more harm than good.
Bill Longmore spoke to The Observer about the mooted legislation which, if introduced, would mean UK drivers would have to keep a self-test brealyser in their car.
The issue came about after a debate in the House of Lords about lowering the drink-drive limit to match Scotland’s led to a breathalyser manufacturer to lobby for a change in legislation.
Mr Longmore said: “Drink driving is such a serious issue that we should be open to debate about any sensible, practical initiatives that might help to save lives and prevent injuries.
“However, before we think about the possibility of introducing the kind of law the French have, we need to remind ourselves that the most important message is don’t drink and drive – simple as that.”
“We should be careful about giving drivers a false sense of security just because they’ve used their own breathalyser, which may or may not be accurate.
“In any event, that’s not the key issue here.
“If they’ve consumed alcohol, I believe it’s safer all round for them not to drive.
“I’m sure the victims of drink-driving and their families would all agree with that.”
Reliability of breathalysers on the market has been questioned and triggered debate and a British pressure group and manufacturer of breathlyasers has said implementation of the law in France has made a significant contribution to road safety.
It said figures released last year by French road safety board, the CISR [comité interministériel de sécurité routière] reported an eight per cent decrease in road deaths in 2013.
Suzannah Robin from the breathlyser manufacturer, AlcoDigital said: “As results in France have shown, there is the opportunity to save dozens of more lives through the introduction of a similar breathalyser law across the UK.”
Business Secretary Sajid Javid backed Mr Longmore’s comments and said ‘toughened laws’ were already in place.
“Government bases all decisions on firm evidence, so will be paying close attention to the Scottish situation.
“As it stands, whilst other countries have lower alcohol limits, they do not have a better record on reducing drink-drive casualties.
“We have more severe penalties, rigorous enforcement and Government has toughened the rules to make sure that no one can play for time to sober up before tests.”