Heck no, I won’t blow

Over the weekend I was sitting at a local establishment with some friends and the waiter warned us and other patrons in the restaurant about potential roadblocks in the area.

A particularly loud young woman, possibly a few sheets to the wind by the sounds of it, exclaimed that it didn’t matter and that she would just simply refuse to blow on a breathalyser or let ‘them’ take any blood from her. She went on to say that nobody has the right to take her blood and that the demand for a breath specimen was unconstitutional, an invasion of her right to bodily integrity.

Really? Clearly, she had had a few too many to be spouting such nonsense.

The traffic police use a breath alcohol screening device which doesn’t give a reading of the breath alcohol levels but rather just indicates the presence of alcohol. On a positive reading, the police would then require a blood sample as evidence of driving under the influence. Obviously a blood sample must be taken by a medical practitioner or a nurse and not by just anybody.

The National Road Traffic Act contains the rules of the road and one of these is that a driver cannot refuse to give a blood or breath specimen, and such refusal is a criminal offence.

That refusal is also a common law crime, which means a crime that is not part of an act but is just a part of the inherited laws of South Africa. That crime is called ‘defeating the ends of justice’, and it is a very serious offence which can carry a heavy sentence including prison time.

It is far better to comply and cooperate with the traffic police and take the test, and if you have been drinking then the consequences are yours to face, and that’s preferable to facing the terrible consequences of a jail sentence for defeating the ends of justice.

It is better not to drink and drive at all, to be responsible and to do your part in keeping death off our roads.

Staff Reporter

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