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Developers of mobile breathalyser kits vie for £350k prize money

Patrick McDonnell
15 June 2018

The winners of a mobile breathalyser technology competition launched by the government will receive £350,00 funding. The competition is being run by PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety), which is seeking technologies that analyse and calculate at the point of roadside test the amount of ethanol in exhaled breath at the roadside.

As part of a package of measures to improve road safety standards, the new mobile breathalyser kit would not require a blood test to show the alcohol/blood level as currently required.

The device is expected to be available to the police throughout the UK by the summer of 2020. 

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “The drink drive limit has helped to give us one of the safest road networks in the world but there is always more we can do.

“This new mobile breathalyser technology will enable the police to enforce the alcohol more rigorously limit on those who still choose to drive after drinking, putting others at risk.”

Mobile evidential breath tests will allow police to gather early evidence of a drink driving offence by taking a breath sample from suspected drivers at the roadside. This instant test means there will be no need for a follow-up blood test at a police station, so those marginally over the drink drive limit will not have that extra period to ‘sober up’ before a further test at the station. 

In a further move to improve road safety standards, the government has announced the formation of dedicated investigative teams throughout the UK to analyse the cause of road collisions, as part of an on-going drive to improve road safety.

Supported by £480,000 of government funding, the RAC Foundation is tasked with developing a new approach to road casualty investigation alongside police forces, with dedicated teams carrying out in-depth research in selected cases to get a better understanding of what is really causing accidents on the country’s roads.

The investigation will draw on the example of internationally recognised the Accident Investigation Branches for Rail, Maritime and Aviation body, which will see collisions analysed in three regions over a three year time span.

RAC Foundation director, Steve Gooding said: “We are keen to seize the opportunity to work with the DfT, the police and others to explore the scope for learning more about the causes of the road crashes that continue to blight – and curtail – so many lives, in particular to establish the practicalities, costs and full benefits of tackling and pre-empting them more effectively.”

The RAC Foundation will also operate alongside DfT, Highways England, DVSA and the Police to gather factual evidence that will help inform Government’s long-term strategy for road safety.

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