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UK floats proposal for new instant breathalysers for drivers

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Proposals released by the government in the UK could see new machines introduced to give instant results of blood alcohol readings for drivers. The government is set to launch a competition to find the best prototype roadside breathalyser apparatus.

The competition will kick off before summer is over and the government says it hopes to have the new breathalyser in use by 2020. A roadside breathalyser which gives legally valid readings will wipe out the window of opportunity for over-the-limit drivers to sober up before second tests are conducted back at police stations.

At present, even though drivers may test positive for excessive alcohol at the roadside, it would be a rare occasion if a UK court accepted this reading as proof of drunk driving. Commenting on the proposal, Jesse Norman said the new machines would help improve safety on the nation's roads.

The road and transport spokesperson carried on by saying roads in the UK were among the planet's safest, but there was always room for improvement. He finished off with the codicil new breathalysers which produced instant readings would help deter drink drivers and thereby improve safety for all other road users.

The last full year for which statistics on breathalyser tests and results are available is 2016. The figures show almost 60,000 drivers out of the 460,000 tested were over the limit. Department for Transport (DfT) figures show drink driving is a major factor in road accidents and responsible for 12 per cent of all deaths on the country's roads.