Hull pub under fire for breathalyser machine

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage, Pub association

Old Zoological: breathalyser machine installed
Old Zoological: breathalyser machine installed
A Humberside licensee has installed a breathalyser in his pub to try and curb the problem of drink driving he says is blighting his local community.

Andy Joplin, of the Old Zoological, in Hull, believes the new machine will make his cutomers think twice before driving home from the pub.

However, local police and trade bodies are concerned about the legitimacy of the breathalyser, and claim it will not prevent those who are “just over the limit” from taking a chance.

“The location I am in has numerous problems related to drink driving and I have basically installed it (breathalyser) because you can have two pints and be over the limit,” Joplin told the Publican's Morning Advertiser​.

He added: “I am not flaunting any laws and the idea is basically to make people aware that they may be over the limit. You can be 0.01% over the limit and receive the same punishment as somebody who is a lot further over it.

“People who drink and drive are always going to drink and drive — but it is more people who want to test the waters and try not to get caught out (that the breathalyser is aimed at).”

Lee Le Clerq, British Beer and Pub Association’s (BBPA) northern regional secretary, raised doubts over the breathalyser.

He said: “While we must applaud any licensee who seeks to enhance the services provided for his or her customers, I think this particular example is fraught with danger.

“While having a breathalyser machine on the pub premises might encourage someone who tested positive to walk home, I would be concerned about the drivers who thought they were close to the legal limit but tested negative on the pub machine and decided to jump in the car.

“It is these people who will tend to use the machine of course. At the end of the day it’s the evidential machine at the police station that matters and while a disclaimer might be good news for the pub’s licensee, a conviction for drunken driving could have awful, life changing consequences for customers tempted to get behind the wheel. This really isn’t a good idea.”

PC Keith Ward, casualty reduction officer for Hull, added: “These machines may offer curious drinkers a guide to the level of alcohol in their system, but they will not be regularly calibrated and therefore can not be trusted as a safe guide to whether those taking the test are within the legal alcohol limit.

"My advice would be if you are planning to drink on a night out, don’t drive. Taking this test will not be a defence if you fail a police drink drive test — be warned."

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