Motorists are being warned not to rely on personal breathalysers by Dorset Police and partners during this Christmas drink and drug drive campaign following a survey.
Tests carried out by Dorset County Council‘s Trading Standards officers revealed that drivers relying on shop-bought breathalysers would put both themselves and other road users at risk.
Out of 14 devices tested, nine indicated that the user was still safe to drive when the legal drink drive limit was actually exceeded.
Officers also found false claims of links to the police on four of the devices which were bought over the Internet.
Inspector Matt Butler, of Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit, said: “This survey revealed that home breathalyser kits can be unreliable so we are urging people not to use them.
“Research has shown that just one drink can impair someone’s ability to drive. Our message is very clear – if you are going to drive, don’t drink any alcohol at all.”
Ivan Hancock, Trading Standards Service Manager for Dorset County Council, said: “Our research shows that there is a wide variety of cheap breathalyser kits available for sale on the Internet.
“Our tests have highlighted that the majority of these are unreliable and may give anyone using them a dangerously false sense of security.
“We have also identified some being sold with descriptions that cannot be substantiated which are likely to mislead anyone buying one.
“Drivers would be extremely foolish to rely on the readings they get from one of these cheap devices. Use your head. Just don’t drink and drive.”
This year’s drink and drug drive campaign has received the backing of Margaret Waterland, whose husband David, 68, of Wareham, was killed by a drink-driver in Milborne St Andrew near Blandford on Wednesday 15 May 2013. Stewart Rosoman, 51, was jailed for six years in November 2014.
Margaret said: “Drink driving is simply not worth it. It is not only innocent lives you destroy but you also ruin your own family’s lives – they suffer too.”
As in previous years, anyone charged with a drink or drug drive-related offence during the campaign will have their names and court appearance details released to the media. Custody images of those convicted could also be released to the media.
Throughout the campaign, which runs until Thursday, 1 January 2015, there will be an increase in traffic patrols and roadside checks.
Every driver who is involved in a collision during this period will be breath tested, irrespective of whether they are suspected of drink driving or not.
If someone is caught drink driving, they will face a minimum 12 month driving ban, a criminal record, up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.
Inspector Butler is urging people to call the police on 101, or 999 immediately, if they suspect someone is drink or drug driving. Calls can also be made to the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555111.
Members of the public can follow the progress of the drink drive campaign including the number of people charged on Twitter @dorsetpolice #DPXmasdrinkdrive and facebook.com/dorsetpolice.