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Traffic police will use balance test to catch drunk drivers

South African motorists will have to undergo classic drunk-driver tests to detect intoxication this festive season.

Traffic officers will make drivers walk in a straight line or balance on one leg for a period of time to detect if drivers are under the influence of alcohol, according to a report by the Sunday Times.

The use of breathalysers was stopped in most parts of South Africa to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Gauteng, however, has kept this practice in place.

The festive season sees an increase in car traffic and a heavier traffic police presence on major national routes. With resurgences occurring in parts of the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, law enforcement intervention has become a necessity in preventing a second wave.

Traffic officers may film drivers under the influence of alcohol while performing sobriety tests in order to obtain evidence for court hearings.

What is the blood alcohol limit?

In a statement, the South African Police Service (SAPS) said: “Your blood may not have an alcohol content of more than 0.05%. This means that even after what you may think is a “small drink”, you could be over the limit.

“If you have more than 350ml of beer, OR if you have more than a single tot of brandy or other spirit, you may already be over the limit. Remember that these levels of alcohol will remain in your system for up to EIGHT hours after consumption!”

SAPS continues: “Do not take chances – rather stay where you are until you have sobered up, or arrange for alternative transport home from wherever you plan to drink, and make such plans in advance to ensure that you are not left stranded.”

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