A breath test

Random breath testing stations

The police may also stop and test any driver of a motor vehicle that approaches a random breath testing station. Police powers to set up breath testing stations have been significantly expanded and a breath testing station can be established at any time an in the vicinity of any road.

Alco testing

A person being tested will generally, particularly at a random breath testing station, be first required to blow into an acutest – a small hand held unit that drivers usually blow into without leaving their vehicles. Alco test units must comply with the requirements of the Road Traffic Act 1961.

Breath analysis machine

Alternatively, or if an acutest shows that the prescribed concentration of alcohol may be present, the driver can be required to blow into a breath analysis machine — a more sophisticated apparatus that is carried in the boot of most police vehicles. The result indicated by the breath analysis is presumed to have been the person’s blood alcohol level for the two hours immediately before the test. If the breath analysis indicates the prescribed concentration of alcohol, the police officer who conducted the test must tell the driver of her or his right to have a blood test taken.

Drivers must be advised of right to blood test

The courts have held that random breath testing procedures must be strictly complied with in order to support a prosecution for an offence of driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol. Drivers charged with this offence should seek legal advice if they were not adequately advised of their rights to a blood test.