Widening Police Breath Testing Powers

Currently in the United Kingdom, a police officer may stop any person driving a motor vehicle on the road, but that does not necessarily mean that the officer can administer a breath test. As is the case in the United States, police officers can require a breath test only if there is reasonable cause to suspect that the person detained has alcohol in his or her body, has committed a moving traffic offense, or has been involved in an accident.

In Finland, random breath testing, along with a legal limit of 50 mg/ 100 mL of blood, was introduced in 1977; highly visible check points are established where typically 8-12 police officers with breath alcohol screening devices are placed along the center of the road, the sites being chosen so that it is impossible for a driver to avoid being tested. All drivers are tested, except those of emergency vehicles. The procedure takes only seconds to perform, the system receives general public support (26), and it has resulted in a marked reduction in the number of accidents and injuries.

In the state of Victoria, Australia, "booze buses" are set up along with a roadblock—any driver who fails a roadside breath test is taken into the bus and given an evidentiary breath test (Drager 7100 machine). Every driver in Victoria is said to be tested on average at least once a year (27).

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