Wednesday 21 August 2019

Alcohol test for drivers

Cape Argus – 1939, February 14
A new device for testing drivers for intoxication has been tried in America in 1939. A police trailer has been turned into a laboratory for country doctors to test drivers who were picked up at random and examined for intoxication. In the picture a driver is seen blowing up a balloon which later releases the breath into a special device that register any alcohol in the breath. If this is over a certain percentage a conviction automatically follows.

In South Africa, at an event in KwaZulu-Natal, the 2019 Easter road safety campaign was launched on Monday, 8 April 2019. The new Evidential Breathalyzer Alcohol Test (EBAT) system which will begin being implemented on the country’s roads was introduced, aiming to combat drunk driving by providing immediate, accurate information on a driver’s intoxication level. The Department of Transport already had four centres in place – including one in KZN, one in the Western Cape and two in Gauteng. Plans to open one in every province are going forward.

Apparently, this is a vast improvement over the older blood tests system - motorists could be detained overnight or until the end of the weekend. They could spend months facing legal uncertainty while waiting for the results. Relatively common under the previous system, were missing and incorrect results. Because the results of an EBAT test are instant the case can be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

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