Fifty years of the breathalyser – where now for drink driving?

Fifty years of the  breathalyser  – where now for  drink driving?

On the 50th Anniversary of the breathalyser, PACTS has called on the Government to renew the fight against Drink Driving.

In a report published today, PACTS has called for a more comprehensive approach that takes account of resourcing realities and uses intelligence and technology better.

In PACTS’ report, Fifty years of the breathalyser – where now for drink driving?, drink and drug driving expert Dr Rob Tunbridge and PACTS Policy Officer Katy Harrison chart the development of the UK’s framework of drug drive research, legislation, enforcement and education. The report celebrates the dramatic change in social attitudes to drink driving and the 73% reduction in casualties over the past 50 years.

The authors emphasise the importance of adequate levels of police enforcement and penalties for offenders. UK courts impose an automatic one-year driving ban, licence endorsements and fines on drivers for a first offence whereas many other countries, with lower legal limits, impose only fines.

David Davies, Executive Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said:

“The past fifty years of drink drive progress are a road safety success. But after a long period in which drink drive deaths fell substantially, we have had a series of years of little or no change and declining enforcement. Surveys consistently show that road users are concerned about drink driving, want more roads policing and would support change. The report shows there is no magic bullet to solving drink driving and the government needs to use all levers at its disposal.”

The full report is now available to download by clicking here.


Production of the report was supported by D.Tec International, suppliers of the road side drug driver screener “DrugWipe”.

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