Breathalyser loophole for crash drivers to close

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The Independent Online

The Home Office is looking to close a legal loophole which allows suspected drink drivers injured in a car crash to escape alcohol testing by police.

The Home Office is looking to close a legal loophole which allows suspected drink drivers injured in a car crash to escape alcohol testing by police.

The new proposals, which will give police the power to order doctors to take blood samples without the consent of unconscious crash victims, will be resisted by the medical profession which believes it will be in breach of the traditional doctor-patient relationship.

The Home Office minister Charles Clarke has pledged to change the law following a crusade by Mary Kettle, whose daughter, Sarah, 32, was killed in a car crash last November.

Police suspected that the 19-year-old driver of the car she was in collision with was drink-driving, but he spent the next two days in intensive care. Before the driver was discharged police made three requests to doctors for blood samples to be taken and on each occasion it was turned down.

Mrs Kettle said: "My daughter's killer has walked totally free. I don't want anyone else to have to go through what I have been through with Sarah."

But the British Medical Association voiced concern over the changes. A spokeswoman said: "If you want to treat a patient you have to get their consent. If they are unconscious and you are taking blood samples for a non-clinical matter that amounts to assault. The doctor would be doing that illegally."

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