It takes more than a hot cross bun to get you arrested for drunken driving

Posted in News by Admin on 18 April, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has expressed its concern about a recent video that quickly went  viral, portraying a traffic officer testing positive for alcohol consumption after eating a hot cross bun.

The Corporation would like to assure members of the public that they will not be arrested unfairly after eating hot cross buns.

It should be noted that the device used is a screening instrument only, and the first reading has to be validated by means of further tests before an arrest can be made.

The function of an alcohol testing device is to determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration in the body specimen. It only registers mouth alcohol concentration, which is not sufficient evidence to charge a motorist for drunken driving.

It is standard practise that an alleged drunken driver -  after blowing into the screener as shown on the video - will be subjected to a evidential breath alcohol tester (EBAT) if the reading registers over the legal limit. The reading on the EBAT, which is calibrated by National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) for accuracy, is the only lawful result which can determine whether to effect an arrest or not.  An officer have to take to breath samples, 15 - 20 minutes apart.

The EBAT will record an error when mouth alcohol is detected. This would definitely be the case in the video, as the officer immediately blew into the screener before the required waiting period. If sufficient evidence from the EBAT exists that the alleged driver is intoxicated, the results of such a test will then be used for prosecution.

The validity and accuracy of the EBAT, recently launched by the national Minister of Transport, is in no manner affected by this video.

It is regrettable that the launch of this video coincides with the Easter period when high traffic volumes and alcohol consumption are expected to peak, especially over the long weekend.

Any information obtained from an alcohol screener alone, is not submissible in court.

The RTMC wants to assure the public, and the fraternity at large, that it harbours no sinister motives to unfairly prosecute the public by means of an untested measuring instrument as portrayed on the video.

It also expressed the hope that the concerned authority will take appropriate corrective action to prevent the repeat of a similar incident.

Editor: Anchen Coetzee
Subeditor: Lynette Brink
Submitted by: Moeti Mmusi

 

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