another lost right

  karmgord 20:08 22 Apr 2009

Be aware you will soon lose the right to have a blood test in borderline failure breath tests,lets just hope the equipement used at the police station is infailable.
I no way condone driving ABOVE the legal limit & know no alcohol is best,but a secondary VERY accurate blood test to me was a good safe guard (and has been for many years).

  bremner 21:45 22 Apr 2009

"A blood test has been a way for people over the limit to get off for a good few years."

This is simply not the case.

The original Lion Intoximeter was never acceptably accurate so those who registered close to the limit were entitled to a blood test to prove their guilt or innocence.

No one "got off". Those whose blood test came back below the limit WERE innocent.

  bremner 22:02 22 Apr 2009

Yes I would question the premise that very many "get off" using delaying tactics.

In over 20 years I could count on one hand the number of people who choose to exercise their right to a blood option and subsequently came back under the limit.

As for the RAC comment I am fascinated to know how they know that those who have come back with blood counts below the limit were actually over the limit when stopped.

  John B 22:14 22 Apr 2009

I'm always quite interested to know who appointed the RAC (and AA) as spokesman(person) for motorists? For me they are breakdown specialists and not representatives.

  Kevscar1 22:23 22 Apr 2009

It.s very simple Alcohol disappears from the bloodstream at a fixed rate so it's easy to go back in time and say how much was present 3 or 4 hrs previously.

  Mr Mistoffelees 22:44 22 Apr 2009

Instead of worrying about losing a way of "getting off" if you register a borderline fail breath test, just don't drink and drive. Problem solved.

  [email protected] 22:45 22 Apr 2009

But that rate varies from person to person so it would take 2 blood tests, with a large break in between, to calculate that.

  Forum Editor 22:51 22 Apr 2009

Unfortunately it isn't possible to charge someone on the basis of a calculation of what their blood alcohol level was 3 or 4 hours previously - there must be evidence of it. That's why some people have escaped being charged when in fact they were over the limit when breathalysed - by opting for a blood test they've built in a delay, during which their borderline reading has fallen.

It's undoubtedly the case that relatively few have escaped in this way, but that's not really the point. The object is to deter people from drinking and driving, not to provide them with loopholes by which they may escape. There's an argument which says that if you are so close to the limit that a blood test would make a difference you are a risk-taker, and risk takers shouldn't be encouraged when lives could be at stake.

I'm usually in favour of allowing the benefit of a doubt where measurement-related motoring offences are concerned, but in the case of alcohol I'm happy to support the proposal - better to risk a few unsafe convictions than to allow over-limit drivers to get away with it.

  Snec 23:59 22 Apr 2009

'better to risk a few unsafe convictions than to allow over-limit drivers to get away with it.'

Just so I am clear in my own mind here; FE, are you saying that you do not have a problem with an inocent person being convicted of a crime he/she did not commit?

  carver 23:59 22 Apr 2009

One thing wrong with this line of thinking, what if you have a medical condition that could cause your breath test to read to high.

Would it still be right to have a person lose his licence even if he was well below the limit.

A person suffering from acid reflux or heartburn can fool the machine into believing that you are over the limit. also Gastroesophageal reflux disease can also fool it into believing you are over the limit.

Belch just before a breath test and that will put you over the limit.

But whats a few unsafe convictions, they are only drivers who have maybe only had 1 pint.

  Forum Editor 00:12 23 Apr 2009

I have a big problem with an innocent person being convicted, but it has happened thousands of times in the past, and will happen again - it's quite impossible to devise a justice system that only convicts the guilty.

Faced with the alternatives of knowing that some guilty drink drivers would avoid prosecution by using a loophole, and thus survive to drink and drive again, or knowing that the system will occasionally lead to borderline drinking drivers being convicted I will choose the latter.

Society can risk a few unsafe convictions, because the alternative is worse, which is why the law will be changed. Remember that the 'innocent person' you refer to will be a borderline case - we're talking about people who have a blood-alcohol reading that is close to the legal limit. The day will come when the legal limit is zero, but until that happens I'm quite happy with the proposed changes to the rules.

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