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Professor David Nutt has a new book out called ‘Drugs – Without The Hot Air’. You may remember the name – he used to be chief drugs advisor for the previous Labour government, and was dismissed in 2009 after clashing with the party about the classification of recreational drugs.

His book is a collection of ideas on how to reduce the harm of certain drugs to the public. One of the main challenges he focuses on is the long-standing issue of drink driving, which has sadly affected countless lives throughout the years.

He suggests that cars should have breathalyser technology installed that people would need to breathe into before they drove. The car would detect a person’s alcohol levels and whether they were over the limit or not. If they were in excess of the legal amount, the car would refuse to start. How much would it cost to install though? Will somehow who’s found a car after browsing amazing Kia Picanto prices need to have extra tech installed?

Professor Nutt has recently been discussing the proposal with the BBC, and underlined how other countries have taken up the breathalyser method. “You could potentially have it so that was true of all cars – everybody would have to breathe in (to the device) before they were able to drive away. It could save a lot of lives,” he says.

Edmund King, president of the AA, has dismissed the idea as unworkable. In response to Professor Nutt’s proposals, Mr. King said: There is a voluntary scheme of ‘alcolocks’ at the moment but I don’t think Prof Nutt’s plan is practical. Our message is that no one who drives should drink. If that message gets across and the police target drink-drivers and breathalyse more people, then you don’t need new devices.”

Both parties make very good points. It’s great news that Professor Nutt is raising awareness of what is a very serious issue, and is suggesting new, innovative ways to help combat the problem and save lives. In contrast though, it’s also right for the AA to stress that new measures aren’t the be-all and end-all to solving drink driving. The problem itself is changing attitudes to drink, and making people realise the danger they may cause if they start up their car after a few too many pints.

Drink driving is a problem that won’t go away overnight, and is a subject that governments over the decades have tried to tackle in their own way. We back both parties over this issue, and hope they can both come together to raise awareness over such an important issue.

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