The number of deaths caused by drunk drivers in the Western Cape last year amounted to 1 315. To reduce the number of fatalities resulting from driving under the influence, the City will soon launch a new counter measure.
The City of Cape Town has announced that it will soon launch the first ever Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing (EBAT), a vehicle fitted with a device that produces immediate Breathalyzer tests. The vehicle is currently deployed by the Provincial Traffic Services in Caledon.
EBAT vehicles enable traffic officers to take evidentiary breath samples from motorists at any location and at any time.
The positive samples obtained from the EBAT tests may be used in court to convict motorists who are driving under the influence, thus removing the need for a blood test. The vehicles are also deployed in support of roadblocks, as well as random breath testing operations.
EBAT results are immediate, unlike those of blood tests.
“Motorists whose alcohol level is below the legal limit can be released immediately after receiving the results while with blood tests the motorist can be detained overnight or until the end of the weekend and can spend months facing legal uncertainty,” the City said.
This also means that motorists who fail EBAT tests are dealt with much quicker than those who are required to do blood tests.
“The vehicles are a force multiplier in the struggle to remove drunk drivers from the Province’s roads,” said Jacqui Gooch, head of the Department of Transport and Public Works for the Western Cape. “They severely curtail the amount of wriggle room motorists who drink and drive have to try and avoid the consequences of their actions.”
EBAT makes use of a machine which can read how much alcohol is in a person’s breath.
When tested, two breath samples are taken. If the lower of the two test results is not less than 0,24 milligrams of alcohol per 1 000 milliliters of breath, the driver will be charged immediately.