January 27, 2006
Breathalyser tests for drivers coming?

This country may soon introduce breathalysers for checking the level of alcohol in seemingly intoxicated drunk drivers.

This was announced at the launch of the new organising committee for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency on Friday, January 20.{{more}}

President of the Caribbean Chapter for the International Commission for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (ICPA), Victor Roach said for years the medical community and courts in many countries have accepted breathalyser testing as scientific and accurate procedure to identify drivers who were under the influence of alcohol.

He lamented the fact that 38% of accidents internationally were associated with drinking and driving and urgently called on this country’s government as well as other Caribbean nations to start using the machine.

President Roach reassured alcoholic beverage companies that breathalysers will not reduce their sales, but said that they would instead help people to be more responsible and use designated drivers and taxis instead of driving when they were under the influence.

He explained that the test is simple and if a person was driving or walking in a way that caught police attention, the officer would then stop the driver and ask him or her to walk a straight line, try to touch their nose or follow the officer’s finger while he moved it.

Roach said the degree of steadiness in the eyes would also indicate the degree of intoxication, which would then influence the officer to give the seemingly intoxicated driver the breathalyser test.

According to the results on the machine, the officer may have to take a second confirmatory test which the driver can then challenge when he has his day in court.

The Caribbean ICPA leader emphasised the point that the breathalyser test is not a denial of anyone’s human right but is a way to save lives since many drunk drivers not only injure themselves but other innocent people.