Anger over drunk driving conviction rate

2014-01-05 08:17

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Johannesburg - Despite carrying out their duties and arresting thousands of drunk drivers annually, traffic and police officers in various parts of the country have spoken out about the low conviction rate in such instances – blaming it on inefficiency and bribery.

According to the Sunday Times, a number of officers spoke out on condition of anonymity. They say police officers are not encouraged to build airtight cases – especially as convictions did not affect promotion prospects.

One official also said officers were being paid to throw cases while another said that convictions were rare and that officers are simply chasing targets.

Yet another officer said that an estimated 80% to 90% of all drunken driving cases are thrown out of court or withdrawn because of botched blood samples or corruption, according to the report.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate has confirmed that it is investigating issues at the Durban Central police station. Spokesperson Moses Dlamini said the probe into systemic corruption related to about 200 drunken driving cases.

Internal documents obtained by the Sunday Times reportedly show that the Durban Central police station only had 111 convictions from 1 481 arrests in 2012. This translates into a conviction rate of only 7.5%.

Festive Season

Data captured over the festive season indicated that a lot of people were being arrested for drinking and driving.

"This has to be one of the highest forms of irresponsible behaviour by motorists," Transport Acting Minister Dikobe Benedict Martins said last week.

Martins also urged pedestrians not to drink and jay walk, and said about 40% of road deaths in the country a year were pedestrians.

He said people needed to understand they could be criminally prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Read more on:    durban  |  festive season  |  transport
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