New breathalyser means drunk drivers in South Africa can be arrested immediately

The Department of Transport has begun rolling out a new breathalyser which can facilitate immediate arrests for drunk driving, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The new breath-testing machine was first piloted in the Western Cape and was launched in Pietermaritzburg last week, with the next step being a national rollout of the technology.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, this new device can deliver an immediate and accurate reading of the alcohol level in a driver’s blood stream, allowing for immediate arrests to be made.

Currently, long delays in waiting for blood test results can delay the prosecution of drunk drivers in South Africa.

A spokesperson for Draeger – the company which makes the device – said a subject must blow twice into the machine to confirm the blood alcohol level.

“The machine produces a printout showing the date, time, and alcohol in a person’s bloodstream,” the spokesperson said.

“Training has been provided in all provinces on the prosecution guidelines and use of the new technology.”

Aarto Bill

The new breathalyser technology above will allow for quicker and more effective prosecution of drunk drivers, but it is only one of many changes coming to South African roads in the near future.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport has accepted the final amendments on the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill, which will now go to the National Assembly for concurrence and will then be ready to be signed into law.

This bill is expected to introduce a number of changes to South African road law, including:

  • Failing to pay traffic fines can lead to a block on obtaining driving and vehicle licences.
  • Where documents previously had to be delivered by registered mail, authorities will now also be able to serve documents via email and to send reminders via WhatsApp and SMS.
  • The option for offenders to elect to appear in court to challenge the prosecution has been removed.

The bill also includes provision for a new demerit system, with 1-6 points allocated for offences. If an infringer has more than 12 points, it will result in the disqualification of their driving licence.

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New breathalyser means drunk drivers in South Africa can be arrested immediately