Drink-drive blood test ban

* Drivers lose right to blood test * Test helps some escape conviction * Innocent drivers may suffer, though...

Author Avatar
What Car? Staff
17 March 2009

Drink-drive blood test ban

Drivers who fail a breathalyser test will lose the right to demand a blood test, the Government has announced.

The change is being made because the Department for Transport (DfT) says that having to wait for a doctor to take the blood test is allowing some drivers to escape conviction.

A spokeswoman for the DfT said: 'If you are arrested at the roadside and taken in for the evidential [second] test, the police have to call a doctor out and that can take a couple of hours, during which time your level will have gone down.'

While the plan has been backed by motoring organisations, such as the RAC, some lawyers have warned that innocent drivers could be convicted of drink-driving offences under the new rules.

'Breathalysers rely on human input and there are all sorts of things that can go wrong with them,' said Jeanette Miller, president of the Association of Motor Offence Lawyers.

The legal limit in a breath test is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Under current rules, drivers can request a blood test if the breathalyser detects between 35 and 50 micrograms of alcohol.