New technology goes on trial to detect motorists suspected of being over the legal limit for consumption of alcohol.
In 1986 over eight thousand Irish motorists were prosecuted for drink driving offences with over seventy percent facing a conviction. These motorists were detected by the traditional "blowing in the bag" method, or through blood or urine samples.
Under a new pilot scheme launched by the Department of the Environment, motorists suspected of being over the limit will now blow into a machine which gives a computer printout of the results within minutes. This new detection method is voluntary and blood and urine samples will still be taken.
The scheme depends upon the cooperation of the motorist.
Pat Mangan of the Department of the Environment describes the positive nature of the public's attitude to breathalysers. The trial will give the Gardaí the opportunity to test the new technology.
Officials believe that there are a number of advantages to the new system including a considerable saving in Garda time and the possibility that the electronic reading could be used in court without the need for medical samples.
The new system is already in use in the United States as well as a number of European countries.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 27 April 1988. The reporter is Una O'Hagan.