Free breath test devices get drivers’ backing
FREE breath test kits handed out by the police have been declared a “good idea” by motorists as the Daily Post joined officers involved in the Christmas drink-driving campaign.
The “indication only” kits have been distributed across the region at police stations and by officers as part of North Wales Police’s effort to reduce the number of drink-drive related incidents.
Between December 1 and 20, North Wales Police made 40 drink drive arrests and 29 drug drive arrests across the region.
Some of those arrested and charged have appeared in court and been fined and banned from driving.
As the Christmas party season reaches a climax, police mounted an operation in the Bangor and Caernarfon areas.
Vehicles were stopped and drivers were asked to provide a sample of breath. It was explained to them that this was part of the annual Christmas drink-drive campaign.
They were also asked when they had last had an alcoholic drink and two said they had had a drink on Thursday evening.
One gave a reading of 17 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
Sgt Raymond Williams said: “He told me his last drink was about 9.30pm and he still had alcohol in his system some 10 hours later. It demonstrates the need to be aware that alcohol can stay in the body for some time after the last drink.”
The other driver who admitted having a drink gave a zero reading.
Sgt Williams said the disposable breath test kits are a useful “indicator only” device for anybody who wants to check for alcohol levels the morning after a night of drinking.
He said the kits will remind older motorists of the former breathalyser kits which involved blowing into a bag and crystals changing colour.
“They will give an indication of high alcohol levels, but won’t necessarily mean someone is OK to drive if they are showing to be under the stated level,” he said. “Any change of colour indicates the presence of alcohol, meaning that a driver may still have sufficient levels of alcohol that could cause their arrest if stopped.”
Drivers asked to give breath tests welcomed the kits being handed out.
One said: “Anything that improves road safety and reduces the risk of a drunk driver being on the road is a good idea.”
Inspector Dave Cust of the Roads Policing Unit said: “Research has shown just one drink can impair someone’s ability to drive, and our message is very clear: if you’re going to drive, don’t drink any alcohol at all.
“We are not in any way encouraging people to drink then test themselves immediately. These kits are for use the morning after and will give an indication if any alcohol is detected in their system.
“Due to the overwhelming positive response last year when we first purchased the kits, we decided to offer them again this year.
“Many told us it stopped them from driving the morning after having indicated that alcohol was still present.
“If these kits prevent one person taking a risk the morning after then they’ve done their job.
“Despite our repeated warnings, it is disappointing that a minority continue to ignore our messages.”
Anyone who suspects someone is driving while unfit to do so can report it to police on 101 (or 999 if they are posing imminent danger) or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
■ North Wales Police are handing out these disposable ‘indication only’ breath test kits