Alcohol Evidence Centre opened in Pietermaritzburg

2019-04-17 06:02

THE National Department of Transport and the KZN Department of Transport, in partnership with SAB, opened the doors of an Alcohol Evidence Centre (AEC) situated in the centre of Pietermaritzburg, on Monday.

The official opening of the AEC was attended by the National Minister of Transport, Bonginkosi “Blade” Nzimande and the director of Road Traffic Inspectorate in KZN, Victor Chetty, and is part of KZN’s Easter Road Safety programme for 2019. The state-of-the-art AEC is equipped with all the necessary equipment required by law enforcement officials to accurately and efficiently determine the breath alcohol level of a person suspected of driving under the influence.

According to the statistics released by the Department of Transport at the end of the 2018 festive season, KZN had recorded the highest number of road deaths across the country with 267 crashes and 328 deaths.

The establishment of the AEC is part of SAB’s road safety focus aimed at reducing harm caused by the misuse of alcohol.

“We are committed to making a real and positive impact on society and to do as much as possible to help change the behaviour. Lower blood alcohol concentration limits and stricter enforcement have been proven around the world to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities linked to drinking and driving. South Africans must realise that if you are going to drink, you cannot drive,” says Zoleka Lisa, senior director: corporate affairs, SAB and AB InBev Africa.

SAB’s road safety initiative this Easter encourages road uses to practice CARE:

• Courteousness (be considerate on the rods at all times),

• Alertness (be vigilant and aware at all times),

• Responsiveness (stay awake to stay alive),

• Ensure (that you do everything you can to safeguard life)

AECs, first implemented across the country in 2011, have proven to successfully assist in improving the number of convictions for DUIs and reducing the incidences of DUIs on the country’s roads.

The Pietermaritzburg AEC boasts breathalyser equipment and specially trained personnel will help traffic authorities to more efficiently and effectively process drivers suspected of being over the legal alcohol limit. If an individual’s breath alcohol level is tested at above the legal limit, the driver is arrested and detained in a SAPS facility.

Law enforcement agencies have historically been given no alternative but to use blood alcohol content to ascertain levels of intoxication of drivers. Problems experienced due to this procedure are common and often result in the withdrawal of cases in court, thus SAB developed the concept of the AEC alongside provincial authorities and industry experts.

A report by the World Health Organisation in 2010 shows that South Africa has one of the poorest road safety records. — Supplied.

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