SAB supplies state of the art equipment to ensure improved prosecution rates
8 December 2009
Soweto Alcohol Evidence Centre Launch Signals War On Drunk Driving
December 8, 2009 Soweto - The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and The South African Breweries Limited (SAB) today launched a state of the art Alcohol Evidence Centre (AEC) in Soweto. The AEC is equipped with the necessary tools to accurately detect a driver's blood alcohol concentration level through a single breath sample.
This is the second such centre to open in South Africa as part of a countrywide initiative by SAB to tackle drunk driving. The accuracy of the data collected at the AEC is expected to dramatically improve the prosecution rates of those detained under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
"Drunk driving has exacted a heavy price from our communities through the tragic and preventable loss of life. By launching this Centre, we are saying that this is a price the community is no longer willing to pay," said City of Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo. "Those who drive under the influence of alcohol will find out they will pay the consequences for their actions because we will catch and prosecute them."
At least one further AEC will be supplied by SAB this year, with a new centre due to launch in the Western Cape later this month. The equipment supplied includes Drager Alcotest breathalyzers and a closed-circuit television network to monitor the testing process. The breathalyzer machines are able to take an instant and accurate reading of the amount of alcohol in an individual's bloodstream. The reading can then be used as evidence to secure a conviction of drunk driving. In practice regular road blocks will be set up throughout Soweto and those whose breathalyzer tests reveal more than 0.24mg of alcohol per litre of oxygen on their breath will be arrested, brought to the AEC for further testing and upon a positive result charged with a criminal offence. The AEC will also make mobile equipment available to the JMPD.
"Ensuring measurable and significant consequence for the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol is perhaps the most effective way of changing the attitude and most importantly the behaviour of those who still deem it acceptable to do so," said Ian Mountain, General Manager of the Egoli Region for SAB. "Our intention in equipping the police with tools that can ensure successful convictions is to make drinking and driving an unthinkable choice for South Africans."
Mayor Masondo echoed that sentiment: "Road safety is our collective responsibility as residents of Soweto and this Centre will help to ensure we meet that responsibility." He voiced his appreciation of the contribution made by SAB: "We are grateful for the assistance of SAB in helping us to catch and convict those who disregard the safety of others by drinking and driving."
The launch of the second AEC in Soweto forms part of a wider SAB strategy to tackle the issue of alcohol abuse in South Africa. Among the key areas being targeted by the strategy are reducing the prevalence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, encouraging responsible trading and reduction of drunk driving.
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