Cape Town clamps down hard on drunk drivers as mobile alcohol testing centre hits the streets

2018-07-27 20:41
City of Cape Town prepares to deploy its new Random Breath Testing vehicle. (Supplied)

City of Cape Town prepares to deploy its new Random Breath Testing vehicle. (Supplied)

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The City’s Random Breath Testing (RBT) is ready to hit the streets of Cape Town in an effort to assist officers in their drunk driving operations.

The minibus is fitted with Evidentiary Breath Analyser Equipment (EBAE) that eliminates the need for the drawing of blood samples or trips to the Western Cape Shadow Centre in Athlone to verify a suspect’s blood alcohol levels.

"This has been some time in the making, and I am thrilled that it is finally a reality," Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said on Friday.

"The RBT vehicle is effectively a mobile testing centre, using specialised equipment that provides the necessary evidence for a drunk driving case," he explained.

"Having this vehicle on hand during roadblocks will not only help cut down on time spent processing drunk driving suspects following their arrest, but will also accelerate court proceedings."

Usually, when a motorist is stopped at a roadblock and is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, they are arrested by the officer.

Once the officer’s suspicion is confirmed by a handheld breath screening device, the suspect is arrested and taken to the nearest police station to register a case docket for drinking and driving.

The suspect is then be required to provide an evidentiary breath sample, using a prescribed EBAE device, which is located at the Shadow Centre in Athlone.

'Many drink and drive because they believe there are no real consequences'

Should the suspect refuse to provide a breath sample, they are taken to a facility where an evidentiary blood sample will be taken by either a registered nurse or doctor.

"The delays associated with blood samples and the impact on the effective prosecution of suspects is a longstanding issue and a great source of frustration," Smith said.

"Very often, cases are abandoned because the blood samples take so long to process. The evidentiary breath analyser equipment provides results on the spot, which fast-tracks completion of the docket, getting the case to court and ensuring a prosecution," he said. 

"To now have this equipment in a roving vehicle that can be deployed at a roadblock just makes life that much easier."

Blood samples will continue to be used, particularly in cases where a suspect is unable to provide a breath sample due to injury as a result of a car crash.

"There are many who drink and drive because they believe there are no real consequences," Smith added.

"I would caution them to think carefully about their behaviour going forward, because with the improved means of expediting cases, the consequences could be coming home to roost sooner than they think."

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