Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, has launched a 2019 Easter road safety campaign which largely focuses on driving under the influence of alcohol.
During the launch, Nzimande unveiled a new Evidential Breathalyser Alcohol Test (EBAT) which is set to be introduced to South African traffic enforcement.
The EBAT system is one that yields immediate results which allows Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases to be dealt with on the spot.
The EBAT is a drastic improvement over the older blood test system which often resulted in offenders being detained overnight or even until the end of the weekend.
How EBAT works
• The EBAT system uses a machine that can determine the amount of alcohol in an individual’s breath;
• 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 1,000 ml of breath, the driver will be charged;
• The EBAT device will be fitted with a temperature gauge in the hose to regulate the exhaling breath of the subject;
• It is called “evidentiary” as the reading can be produced as evidence to prosecute people accused of driving under the influence.
• This machine, the people who operate it, and the location it operates in, must all pass a very specific and demanding set of tests in order to be used to accurately prosecute suspects.
The charges for homicide while operating a vehicle under the influence have also been shifted from a civil to a criminal charge for the perpetrator.
DUI perpetrators can also expect to spend at least 7 days in jail before being released on bail while looking at jail time as long as 15 years. Around 520 people die during Easter time in South Africa and the Department of Transport has taken a clear stance to reduce this number by implementing DUI enforcement and preventative systems like the EBAT.