Free breath test de­vices get driv­ers’ back­ing

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

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

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