Road Safety Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 22nd November 2005.

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Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 4:15 pm, 22nd November 2005

My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 10 I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 11 to 13. Clause 13 gives the courts the power in certain circumstances to offer offenders the opportunity to participate, at their own expense, in an "alcohol ignition interlock programme". Where an offender agrees to this, his overall period of disqualification may be reduced.

In Committee the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, questioned what would happen if a person other than the offender provided a specimen of breath to allow the offender to drive the car. I note that he has tabled an amendment to that effect today, which I hope he will withdraw when he has heard my remarks.

My response then and my view now is that the risk of the wrong person giving a breath specimen, or at least of this happening without detection, is low. A strong deterrence factor is that the offender, having committed money to the scheme and having the opportunity to drive again, will not risk throwing it all away. He has everything to lose. Nevertheless, I concede the point made by the noble Earl that a person who provides or attempts to provide a specimen of breath to enable the offender to drive the vehicle should not go unpunished, because it would be a serious interference with the law. We therefore propose to amend the provisions set out in new Section 34D(12) to provide not only that an offence will be committed where a person interferes with the alcohol ignition interlock with intent to cause it not to function or not to function properly, but it will now also be an offence for a person other than the offender to provide or attempt to provide a specimen of breath with intent to enable the offender to drive or continue to drive the vehicle. Government Amendment No. 10 substitutes a new subsection (12) into the proposed new Section 34D of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 to achieve this. Government Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 are consequential amendments arising from Amendment No. 10.

I thank the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, for his contribution. I hope that, in view of our constructive response, he will both support our amendments and withdraw his own. I beg to move.