Durban clamps down further on drunk driving this DecemberDecember 10th, 2010 by H&R | Categories: beverages, government, legal, products, social, technology, tourism
The Ethekwini Municipality (Durban) and South African Breweries (SAB) have launched the province’s fourth Alcohol Evidence Centre (AEC) in Durban. It is part of a nationwide initiative by SAB to tackle drunk driving and is equipped with the latest technology to accurately detect a driver’s breath alcohol level through a single breath sample.
The centre and others like it across the country are expected to dramatically improve prosecution rates of those arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Three other AEC’s have been launched in KZN, Pietermaritzburg, Ballito and Port Shepstone.
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, Willies Mchunu, says that drunk driving remains one of the biggest killers in South Africa. These centres are designed to help reduce the number of fatalities on the province’s roads.
“We want all drivers to know that it is never okay to drink and drive and if they make the mistake of doing so, we are ready to catch and prosecute them,” he adds.
For the current financial year, SAB has committed R9-million to supply nine AECs across South Africa with equipment, including breathalysers whose results are admissible in court and a closed-circuit television network to monitor the testing process.
The breathalyser machines are able to take an instant and accurate reading of the level of an individual’s breath alcohol which can be used as evidence to secure a conviction of drunk driving. The are used in conjunction with regular roadblocks around the city.
If the breathalyser detects more than 0.24-milligrams of alcohol per 1000-millilitres of breath (the legal breath alcohol limit in South Africa), a driver will be arrested, detained in a South African Police Services facility and charged with a criminal offence.
“Research has shown that effective enforcement and prosecution are the most effective ways to change attitudes and behaviours among those who drink and drive,” notes Greg Uys, GM of SAB. “By equipping police with tools to better arrest and prosecute irresponsible drivers, we hope to make drinking and driving socially unacceptable.”
The contribution of breathalyser equipment follows on SAB’s launch of a comprehensive strategy to tackle alcohol abuse across South Africa. The company is focusing specifically on reducing the prevalence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, encouraging responsible trading, addressing underage drinking and reducing the prevalence of drunk driving.
In addition to the equipment, earlier this year SAB launched a hard-hitting advertising campaign called “Reality Check” to drive home messages about the anti-social and life threatening dangers of drinking and driving and drinking while pregnant.
“We hope that the contribution of equipment will act as an effectively deterrent to those who may still consider drinking and driving,” says Uys. “A significant shift in mindset is required among those South African drivers who drink and we believe that this equipment is one of the most practical and effective ways to affect change among individuals and ultimately, society as a whole.”