P352 ORACLE 352 Sun17 Oct ITV 2200:00 2/4 HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREATHALYSER As soon as the Police started to use the German-made 'Alcotest' bag the courts started discovering loopholes in the Road Safety Act. A driver who ran away after being stopped and returned sober could not be charged with refusing the test. Another escaped suspension by filling the bag with six short puffs and not one long one; it was found that the makers' instructions were not legally binding. In 1971 the 'Hip Flask' loophole was discovered. The House of Lords ruled that a driver who swallowed a mouthful of Brandy or smoked just before being tested could not be convicted. more follows >P352 ORACLE 352 Sun17 Oct ITV 2210:01 1/4 HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREATHALYSER October 9th saw the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the breathalyser test. Among those not celebrating were the 700,000 who've been fined, dis- qualified or imprisoned after blowing into the bag. Section 1 of the 1967 Road Safety Act made it an offence to drive with more than 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 milligrammes of blood. The press tried to determine what was safe:- two pints? four singles? but Transport Minister Barbara Castle refused to set safe limits, and with an eye on an annual figure of 30,000 drink-related accidents,insisted any drink was a risk more follows >P352 ORACLE 352 Sun17 Oct ITV 2210:00 3/4 HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREATHALYSER In the 15 years the breathalyser has been in use, one legal loophole that's been exploited by the more desperate motorist is that of fleeing to the safety of the home. The Government plans to tighten up the law: the Trans- port Bill, due to become law at the end of the year, will allow police to enter private property to conduct a test, without trespassing. The breathalyser is often criticized as being inaccurate - definitive results are provided by a blood or urine test. The police have tested 15 electronic devices but the Home Office claim it's too early to comment on the results. more follows >P352 ORACLE 352 Sun17 Oct ITV 2200:01 4/4 HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREATHALYSER Since its introduction in 1967 the breath test & its use has been the subject of much disagreement. Various Governments have tried to introduce random testing. The NCCL sees this as an unwarranted attack on our freedom, the AA say it's completely unjustified While for most people the risk of being breathalysed simply means a change in drinking habits, for pub owners the law has obvious repercussions. Their union believes most people know their own limits, but with 78,000 convictions last year it seems a large number of people just don't think before they drink before they drive.