Fast result breathalyser launched

2019-04-17 06:01

“IF you get into a car and drive while you drunk, you are a potential murderer.”

These were the words of National Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande during the launch of the Easter Road Safety Programme and a new breathalyser called Evidentiary Breathalyser Alcohol Testing (EBAT).

The official launch was held at the Golden Horse Casino on Monday.

The new breathalyser will produce results on the spot and drivers will not have to go to hospital to do blood tests.

Nzimande said that road safety reports indicated that human factors are the primary reason for 77% of all fatal road crashes, followed by road conditions at 16%, and the condition of a vehicle at six percent.

Human factors include drunk driving, distractions, speeding, reckless driving, pedestrians and tyres.

Nzimande said this is the reason why this year they chose to focus their attention on the abuse of alcohol which leads to drinking and driving as it is a contributing factor in a large number of fatal crashes.

Plessisalaer, in Edendale, is ranked number five in the province when it comes to fatal crashes.

Speaking at the event, Nzimande said the launch of this new breathalyser is one of their interventions to help deal with this challenge.

“This will ensure drivers will not evade being arrested. The breathalyser that we had before could not produce immediate blood alcohol results. It would take about four months for the results to be finalised and by that time the driver would have committed more offences,” he said, adding that they will also continue to take firm and urgent measures to deal with fraud and corruption within traffic law enforcement personnel this Easter.

“Working together with the National Anti-Corruption Unit and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, we continue to arrest traffic officers who instead of issuing fines for traffic violations demand gratification or bribes from motorists.

“I want to appeal to all the motorists and law enforcement officers to avoid all forms of temptation that might lead them to be collaborators of crime. We will arrest everyone involved in crime without any fear or favour,” he said.

Nzimande added that their anti-corruption units will be keeping a close watch on traffic officers who will be deployed on our country’s roads during this Easter period.

According to scientists, the new breathalyser took eight years of research to develop and is scientifically valid.It was also revealed that there are plans to manufacture an EBAT which tests levels of drug intoxication.

HOW THE EBAT DIFFERS FROM BLOOD TESTS

• The results are immediate

• Motorists whose alcohol level is below the legal limit can be released immediately after receiving results.

• With blood tests, the motorist can be detained overnight or until the end of the weekend and can spend months facing legal uncertainty.

• Cases of motorists who fail the EBAT test can be dealt with quickly using the results of this test.

HOW EBAT WORKS

• Initially the EBAT machine, which can read how much alcohol is in a person’s breath, will be used at the Shadow (Safely Home Anti-drink Driving War Room) Centre in Athlone.

• It is called “evidentiary” as the reading can be produced as evidence to prosecute people accused of drinking and driving.

• When tested, two breath samples must be taken. If the lower of the two EBAT test results is not less than 0.24 mg of alcohol per 1 000ml of breath, the driver will be charged.

• The instrument will be fitted with a temperature sensor to regulate the exhaling breath of the subject.

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