Easter is usually a time of relaxation and a chance to spend time reconnecting with family, as it is the first major break of the year. However, is also a time of increased road fatalities due to the exponential increase in drunk driving on Western Cape roads.
Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande has launched an Easter road safety campaign to help decrease road fatalities. The campaign will include the use of the new Evidential Breathalyser Alcohol Test (EBAT) system, which will begin being implemented on all roads in the country immediately.
The EBAT system combats drunk driving by providing immediate information on how intoxicated a driver is. The system will be used from now until the end of October.
According to the Western Cape Government, the EBAT system offers more instantaneous results, instead of having drivers face uncertainty as they wait for their results. Missing and incorrect results were also quite common before the EBAT system.
The EBAT system makes use of a machine that can read the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath, and takes two breath samples. 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 is charged.
The Department of Transport will also be coming down hard on drunk drivers in South Africa, with plans to elevate the seriousness of the offence. As part of the Easter road safety campaign, there will be a push for driving drunk to go from a schedule 3 to schedule 5 offences, making it an offence on par with murder and rape.