NMBM intensifies road safety campaign, opens new Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing centrePublished: November 24, 2023
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The days of waiting for bloods test results before a drunk driving suspect can be prosecuted are over at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Traffic Services following the opening of a new Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Testing centre in Sidwell.
The new centre, approved by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), will boost the Metro’s efforts to curb the increasing drunk driving cases within the region.
This follows the recently launched and ongoing as NMBM traffic officers have adopted a zero tolerance to drinking and driving towards the festive season and beyond.
Speaking at the opening of the centre, Safety and Security Mayoral Committee Member, Cllr Stag Mitchell said: "The new centre will speed up the current process of drawing blood and challenges around it. Previously our traffic officers would arrest a drunk driver and take them to a hospital for blood tests to be done and it could take weeks before the results are back before prosecution would take place. Now that we have this approved centre, we can test a suspect and receive accurate results within 15 minutes.”
"Two tests are done consecutively of which the lower reading will constitute as evidence that could lead to a successful conviction if one is over the limit, the legal limit is 0.24 mg of alcohol per 1000 ml of breath. We are already busy with road safety education through churches, schools and the public transport industry to advocate for no-drinking and driving. This is by distributing self-testing breathalysers so that drivers are not driving under the influence of alcohol. We are committed to the decade of Road Safety 2023 of reducing road accidents, deaths and injuries by 50%.”
A total of 118 drunk drivers were caught by NMBM Traffic Services in 2021, 301 in 2022 and 367 so far in 2023.
Traffic and Licensing Director Warren Prins said the high numbers were a cause for concern resulting in the Metro’s drive to educate motorists in an effort to instil behavioural change and responsible driving.
"These high numbers do not excite us. The approach of education and awareness supported by law enforcement is to lessen the carnage on our roads as alcohol is a big contributing factor. We will be happy the day we only arrest five people per month then we will know that the NMB community is working with law enforcement agencies. We want to save people’s lives and ensure that even our road infrastructure is protected from drunk drivers. With the festive season upon us, these are some of the efforts to improve safety on our roads. Our residents and visitors have been warned,” said Prins.
The National Prosecuting Authority’s Olga De Wet said NPA was in full support of the Metro’s initiatives to clamp down on drunk driving.
Issued by the NMBM Communications Office.