Competition to develop mobile breathalysers moves forward

13.21 | 27 August 2020 |

The third phase of a competition, which encourages the development of technology that enables police officers to breathalyse drivers instantly at the roadside, has been launched.

Run by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), the competition incentivises companies to develop Mobile Evidential Breath Testing Instruments (MEBTIs) which meet Home Office type approval requirements.

It aims to result in one or more type approved instrument which can be operated by police forces throughout the UK by October 2021. 

The competition involves three stages, with up to £350,000 awarded in total to one or more manufacturers over the three stages. The first two stages were successfully completed, with three companies sharing a total of £175,000.

The third stage of the competition, launched on 26 August, is the submission of manufactured instruments for consideration for type approval.

David Davies, PACTS executive director, said: “It has been many years since parliament authorised the police to take evidential breath samples at the roadside, instead of requiring a driver to attend the police station. However, no instruments have yet been approved for use. 

“The technical standards are very demanding and the type approval process has been very challenging for manufacturers. 

“The competition that PACTS has been running with funding from the DfT has given additional incentives and practical assistance to the companies developing these devices. 

“We are now at the final stage and we are hopeful that one or more companies will get across the line by the end of next year. This would be an enormous help to the police in combating drink driving, which remains one the major causes of death and injury on the roads.”



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