Giving police the power to randomly test drivers for drink and drugs could cut the number of people killed or seriously injured on Britain’s road each year, one organisation believes.
Road safety charity Brake said it wants to see officers in England, Wales and Scotland given permission to set up checkpoints to select drivers for testing in the same way that they can in Northern Ireland since a law was introduced in 2016.
A necessary change to the law?
Currently, the police are only able to breathalyse someone in England, Wales or Scotland if they suspect they have been drinking or taking drugs, if they have committed a traffic offence, or if they have been involved in a collision.
However, Brake said this should change – and that it has the public’s support in believing so.
Indeed, a survey of motorists carried out by Brake and Direct Line found 72 per cent would agree with the introduction of random roadside drink and drug testing, while only 11 per cent would oppose it.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said something needs to be done to curb the increasing numbers of road deaths where alcohol or other illicit substances have been a contributing factor.
“Drink and drug driving are a blight on our roads and drivers need to expect that if they break the law they will be caught and punished,” he added.
According to the Department for Transport, around 250 people were killed in collisions in which at least one driver was over the legal alcohol limit in 2017.
The problem exacerbates during the festive season, with an average of one person an hour killed in a drink-drive-related crash during December.
Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “These are truly shocking figures and it would seem that current deterrents are not enough to stop persistent offenders. Perhaps random roadside tests are the way to go next.”