Random breath test nets off-duty police officer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 February, 2009, 12:00am

Seven arrested for drink-driving

An off-duty police officer has been arrested for drink-driving after failing a breath test in the first week of the new random testing regime.

A police spokesman said last night the officer was stopped at a roadblock for a random breath test at about 5am on Wednesday.

The test showed he had more than the legal limit of alcohol in his breath, a result that was confirmed by another test at the scene.

The off-duty officer was arrested and taken to a police station, where an evidential breath test showed the level of alcohol was 50 micrograms per 100 millilitres of his breath, more than double the legal limit of 22mcg, the spokesman said.

Three other drivers were also arrested and failed evidential breath tests at the same police station. The spokesman said they would all be prosecuted.

He did not reveal which police department the officer belonged to.

Under the new random breath tests regime against drink-driving, which came into force on Monday, officers can stop drivers anywhere at any time, even without reasonable grounds for suspicion, and use new pre-screening devices to test their breath.

From Monday to 7am yesterday, 461 drivers of various types of vehicles had received random breath tests.

Six who failed the tests and one who failed to provide a sample were arrested.

Drivers are allowed to stay in their seats to receive the initial 'pre-screening breath test'. The device flashes a 'Fail' signal if it detects 20mcg or more of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Drivers failing the initial test are asked to get out of their vehicles for a second breath test - the 'screening breath test'.

Those found to exceed the legal limit of 22mcg are then taken to a police station to undergo a third, evidential, breath test.

Drivers who pass the pre-screening test can leave the roadblock within two minutes.

Under the current law, drink-driving offenders are disqualified from driving for at least three months on a first conviction.

The maximum punishment for the offence is three years' imprisonment and a fine of up to HK$25,000.

Another rule also took effect on Monday requiring newly licensed drivers of cars and delivery vans to display 'P plates' on the front and back of their vehicles to identify them as probationary drivers.