Here’s a big step forward in curbing drinking and driving. ALCO-Safe, the leading provider of alcohol and drug testing and educational material, has been selected by the South African Police Service (SAPS) as their preferred supplier of Alcoblow Rapid Test breathalyser instruments – countrywide – in their latest bid to combat alcohol abuse and driving under the influence.
The Alcoblow Rapid Test is a fast, effective means of testing for whether or not an individual is over the legal drinking limit. The compact, handheld instrument was selected for its speed and ease of use, simply requiring that the individual being tested blow onto the inverted cone area on the device for results to be delivered in under a second. And there is no need for mouthpieces – disposable or otherwise.
According to Rhys Evans, director at ALCO-Safe, the SAPS had a requirement for a fast, user friendly device that offers a simple way of identifying whether or not a person is over the legal drinking limit. It had to differentiate whether they were over professional vehicle driver alcohol limits or private vehicle driver alcohol limits; professional vehicle driver alcohol limits being lower than those of private drivers.
“Typically, the device only indicates whether or not a person is over private vehicle driver drinking limits. However, the SAPS will be testing both private vehicle drivers and professional vehicle drivers (truck and bus drivers) and wanted a device that could differentiate between the two.
“To accommodate them, we modified the device to indicate a pass or fail through coloured light indicators. A negative test, indicating acceptable sobriety, will give a green light; a person who tests over the professional drinking limit will produce an orange light on the device; while a red light will indicate that a person is over all legal alcohol limits.”
The speed and simplicity of the Alcoblow Rapid Test will mean that officers can move quickly through the testing process, spending less time on the actual test and more on attending to anyone who is over the legal limit. This means that people will be detained for shorter periods of time, minimising any inconvenience to them, while maximising police efficiency.”
Evans adds that those individuals who test positive for being over the legal drunk driving limit will still require a secondary test – such as a blood test – to confirm exact blood alcohol levels, a procedure necessary for prosecution.
“We are proud to be associated with the SAPS and are confident that the Alcoblow Rapid Test will not only make their jobs easier, but will go a long way towards combatting the ever-present problem of drunken driving in South Africa,” says Evans.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I can confirm that the Alcoblow Rapid Test is an ideal monitoring instrument to determine whether or not a person is over the legal alcohol limit. I have one in my possession loaned to me some time ago by ALCO-Safe to randomly test truck drivers on our Brake & Tyre Watch exercises.
One night, I arrived back home late from a business trip. My youngest daughter and her school mates – about 90 or so of them – were using our house for their end of the year party venue. Yes, I did know about it. When I arrived, I was greeted by one of the guys walking out towards his car. I asked him if he had been drinking. OK, I admit it was a dumb question. He said yes. I told him to wait right there.
I fetched the Alcoblow Rapid Test instrument from my car and told him to blow in it. The red light came on very brightly. “You’re not going anywhere my boykie. You’re over the limit. Go back inside and carry on partying or find a place to sleep and when you wake up, we’ll try again.”
And so it went on like that through to the early hours of the morning when the music died down. If the red light came on, they stayed – no debate. If the green light came on, they were allowed to drive. Not many green lights came on.
In the morning, there were sleeping bodies all over the place – including in the cars – but those bodies were alive and that is what counted. And that was thanks to the Alcoblow Rapid Test. It works – and works well.