UK police forces could have access to roadside evidential breath test devices ‘within a couple of years’, thanks to the success of a DfT-funded competition.
Launched in June 2018, the competition incentivises companies to develop the technology to enable police officers to test drivers instantly at the roadside – saving police time as well as getting drink drivers off the roads immediately.
The £350k competition is being run by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) – and comprises two stages.
Stage one – for which the winners were announced on 14 December – rewarded two companies which the independent expert panel deemed most likely to achieve type approval by July 2020.
Lion Laboratories and Intoximeters, both of whom produce instruments to test alcohol on the breath, have each received £70k.
Stage two of the competition, which encourages bids from manufacturers who are able to provide devices for police forces for trials, is now open.
David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “It is very encouraging to see the technology that is being developed and the investment that is being made to achieve this extremely demanding standard – the highest in the world.
“This has taken a period of some years but the competition seems to have given it a new impetus, attracted new companies, and rewarded investment.
“Over 10 years since the legislation (SOCPA) enabled it, we can now be reasonably confident that UK police will have roadside evidential breath test devices within a couple of years.
“We look forward to stage two which will reward both delivery and innovation.”