New breathalysers en route from Britain

  • Road test: an example of the new roadside sobriety testing breathalyser (File photograph)

    Road test: an example of the new roadside sobriety testing breathalyser (File photograph)

Random roadside breath test checkpoints have been delayed because handheld breathalysers have still to arrive on the island it has been revealed.

Legislation to set up the checkpoints was approved more than four weeks ago, but the measure designed to cut the grim toll of death and injury on the island’s roads has still to be used. A spokeswoman for the national security minister said the equipment is expected on island “in due course”.

“Once all of the elements are all in place, the public can expect to see the full implementation of roadside sobriety testing.”

David Burt, the Premier, said in March the checkpoints would be in place by Cup Match.

The legislation, given Royal Assent by John Rankin, the Governor, on July 23, allows checkpoints and road users to be stopped and tested without a requirement to suspect a driver or rider is over the drink-driving limit.

A further amendment to the legislation, needed to get legal approval for the use of the roadside breath test machines, was later passed by legislators.

Tests allowed include field sobriety checks, like having to walk in a straight line, as well the use of handheld breathalysers.

Checkpoint breathalysers, however, are not a necessity under the legislation, so checkpoints could be set up to use field sobriety tests alone.

Government did not respond to a question on why the field tests could not be used by themselves while the breath test machines are unavailable.

The legislation, an amendment to the Road Traffic Act, also needs permission from a senior magistrate to allow a checkpoint to be set up, followed by a notice in the Official Gazette at least five days in advance.

Neither the Ministry of Transport, which tabled and passed the checkpoint legislation, or Government House responded to a question on why they had been delayed.

The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change road safety drive has campaigned for roadside sobriety tests, including roadside breath tests, since January.

It is estimated that 75 per cent of road fatalities involved alcohol or drugs. The campaign has also asked for the implementation of speed cameras and better training for new road users.

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Published Aug 18, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 18, 2018 at 1:02 am)

New breathalysers en route from Britain

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