§ Mr. Peter Bruinvels
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to empower the police to conduct random breath tests on drivers during the Christmas period; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
The courts have held that a constable may, under section 159 of the Road Traffic Act 1972, stop vehicles at random in order then to decide whether there are grounds for requiring a sample of breath for testing. A sample may be required where the constable has reasonable cause to suspect that the motorist has alcohol in his body; that he has committed a traffic offence while the vehicle was moving; or that he has been involved in an accident. The Association of Chief Police Officers has stated that these powers are sufficient to allow the law to be enforced effectively, and the Government have no plans to amend the legislation.