Exposure concern quashed

DRINK drivers taking their chances on Mallee roads can expect to be caught, with breath testing to go ahead as usual following concern about exposure risk to coronavirus.

Victoria Police released a statement late last week to clarify preliminary breath tests (PBTs) would continue around the state, with exposure risk to COVID-19 from a PBT machine "no different to going about your daily life in the community".

"Expert medical advice has been sought and Victoria Police has been reassured that it is safe for people to participate in a PBT," the statement said.

"It is against the law for drivers to refuse a PBT on the basis that they suspect coronavirus could be contracted.

"New straws and gloves are used every time a PBT is conducted.

"The machine is also disinfected between use."

Victoria Police has advised if a driver is "not confident" these precautions have taken place, they can ask an officer to complete the steps in front of them again.

Anyone refusing to undergo a PBT will face the normal penalties, this includes your licence being cancelled for two years and a maximum fine of nearly $2000.

Swan Hill Police Senior Sergeant Brad Bennett told The Guardian anyone alcohol-affected and choosing to get behind the wheel locally could expect to be caught.

"PBTs will still be taking place as per normal, members will do a risk assessment and will take precautions, not just for themselves, but for drivers," Snr-Sgt Bennett said.

"They will be gloved up and that is just to make sure everybody is safe in these transaction.

"People will be asked to remove the straw from the machine after they have use it.

"But PBTs will be taking place as normal."