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Argument: Random alcohol breath tests reduce accidents, save lives

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"Random breath testing, but still no reduced alcohol limit.": "Random breath testing, but still no reduced alcohol limit." "Increasing breath tests. A main element of the new strategy to combat drink driving appears to be an increase in the number of breath tests administered to drivers and the introduction of ‘random’ breath testing. The review reports a ‘welcome increase’ in the number of breath tests conducted and a reduction in drink-related accidents over the Christmas period of 2006 compared with Christmas 2005, and it explains that Department for Transport and Home Office Ministers wrote jointly to Chief Constables in England and Wales in early 2007, outlining the government’s position on enforcement levels. The Government gave ‘a clear steer’ to the police that criminal motoring offences are as serious as other criminal offences and should be enforced as such."


The Centers for Disease Control, in a 2002 Traffic Injury Prevention report, found that in general, the number of alcohol related crashes was reduced by 20% in states that implement sobriety checkpoints compared to those that do not. Oregon State Sen. Rod Monroe, D-Portland, extrapolates that such a reduction would mean 30 fewer alcohol-related deaths on Oregon highways, 2,100 fewer serious injuries and millions of dollars in savings to the health care system. Those would be substantial gains.[1]


Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) chief executive Andrew Murie: "[random breath tests] biggest selling point is that it improves road safety, with drunk driving fatalities dropping 36 per cent in Australia after legislation was introduced, and 23 per cent in Ireland when it made the change.”[2]

Murie also said the change would allow police at roadblocks to conduct about three times as many breathalyzer tests, as they would not need to spend time determining whether there is “reasonable” suspicion that a driver has been drinking.[3]
"There is convincing evidence that RBT has significant traffic safety benefits. For example, in Queensland, RBT was estimated to have reduced fatal crashes by 35% between 1988 and 1992, preventing an estimated 789 fatal crashes in that period."
There is convincing evidence that RBT has significant traffic safety benefits. For

example, in Queensland, RBT was estimated to have reduced fatal crashes by 35% between 1988 and 1992, preventing an estimated 789 fatal crashes in that period. More recently, a systematic review of 12 RBT studies found a median decrease of 22% in total fatal crashes. Ireland’s introduction of RBT in 2006 was found to cut total road fatalities by 23%. In Canada, RBT would be used as a preliminary screening measure to determine whether there are grounds to demand evidentiary breath tests. RBT could be conducted on approved screening devices (ASDs) at roadside, thereby minimizing inconvenience to motorists."

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