Red for drunk drivers

2015-09-29 06:00
Several traffic officers check drivers for drunk driving with the help of a hand-held breathalyser test at a roadblock held on AZ Berman Drive last Sunday. The operation resulted in several arrests and fines for other offences. 

PHOTO: 
Samantha

Several traffic officers check drivers for drunk driving with the help of a hand-held breathalyser test at a roadblock held on AZ Berman Drive last Sunday. The operation resulted in several arrests and fines for other offences. PHOTO: Samantha

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Drunk drivers will have nowhere to hide following the use of breathalyser testing.

Although not permissible in a court of law, enforcement agencies are using it as a tool to clamp down on drunk drivers.

On Sunday last week, traffic officers brought traffic to a standstill on AZ Berman Drive in a major operation targeting traffic transgressors.

Armed with the Drager Alcotec test, officers stopped and checked every driver’s alcohol level in a day-long road block.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, says the machines are used in all roadblocks.

This is also not the first of its kind, and will not be the last, says Smith.

“The City’s enforcement agencies conduct regular vehicle checkpoints – either autonomously or in conjunction with the police,” he says.

“Vehicle checkpoints form part of the day-to-day operations of the City’s enforcement agencies. Such operations are generally stepped up on certain days of the week,” says Smith.

“The City’s enforcement agencies operate seven days a week, including a general 24-hour presence by metro police and limited 24-hour presence by Cape Town traffic and law enforcement, so roadblocks form part of their general duties.”

Equipped with the hand-held device, motorists were asked to exhale into the device.

The device takes a reading of the driver’s blood-alcohol level.

Officers arrest and issue fines to offenders.

“The machine used is a hand-held screener device which provides a reading on a motorist’s blood-alcohol level. The reading from the device is not accepted in court, but is rather used to determine whether a motorist ought to be arrested and taken for a blood sample,” says Smith.

“The machine is calibrated every six months to ensure that the reading provided is accurate. Another device used at the roadblock was the Lifeloc. The driver is asked to exhale in the direction of the machine and it will register the presence of alcohol or not.”

With the use of these devices, traffic officials arrested 25 suspects for driving under the influence of alcohol on Sunday.

They were taken for blood testing.

Officers also issued 2272 fines for various other offences.

These included the suspension of 27 vehicles for being unroadworthy, 68 unlicensed drivers and 1974 speeding offences.

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