15th April 2015
Recent changes in Motoring Law
The departing government pushed through significant changes to motoring legislation in its last hours. More is coming later in the year and it would be almost unique if any new government did not manage a handful of changes to the criminal law to spice up its first term. For now these are important changes that reinforce the need to take very early advice if you or anyone you know has the misfortune to become involved in a motoring case with the Police;
Previously if a driver provided a sample of breath showing an alcohol level between 35 and 50 mgs [in England and Wales] the Police were obliged to offer the opportunity to give an alternate sample of blood. This was known as the “statutory option”. As from 10th April it will no longer apply. Blood or urine samples will now only arise where equipment is not available or there is some medical reason that a breath sample cannot be provided. The Government believe that testing equipment is now so reliable that there is no longer a need for a back up provision.
In the past the roadside test gave the Police a power to detain and the evidential test was taken at the Police station. New equipment means that in future the Police will be able to rely on the roadside test as sufficient evidence that someone is over the legal limit to drive.
The Police are coming to terms with lots of new kit. The roadside Drug testing equipment is now widely available so we will have to see whether many cases result. Remember our advice; continue taking any prescribed medication and check the situation with your GP if you are in any doubt.
From 3rd March you no longer need your paper counterpart licence. Endorsements will be recorded on a driver’s digital record at DVLA. This may be seen as an inevitable change and will be one less piece of paper to keep track of. We just have to hope that the systems can cope.
We are constantly updating our teams to ensure you get the latest and most accurate advice. Call our motoring line 0800 2800880 if you need advice.