HC Deb 25 March 1988 vol 130 c262W
Mr. Nicholas Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to the effectiveness of random breath testing in other countries; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

We keep in close touch with international experience. Although some countries that have introduced random breath testing seem to have achieved dramatic reductions in their levels of drinking and driving, they are no more successful overall than we are in containing the problem. In Australia, for example, the introduction of random breath testing in some states has reduced the level of drinking and driving to around the current level in this country. It is not always straightforward to compare one country with another and to assume that changes in one social environment would work in another. In this country the police have wide discretion to enforce the law on drinking and driving. This led to more than 300,000 breath tests last year resulting in over 100,000 convictions.