, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 16 – Alcoblow is back on the roads after the Ministry of Transport announced its re-introduction with immediate effect, starting in Nairobi, to curb rising road accidents.
Motorists are required to blow into the gadget to test whether they have consumed more than the requisite pints of alcohol.
Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said from now on, any motorist caught drunk while driving will attract a fine of Sh100,000, two years in jail or both.
Those found guilty, will also be arrested and prosecuted and their vehicles impounded and towed to the nearest police station and detained.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Kamau directed the traffic police to take action and arrest any driver found driving under the influence of alcohol.
“We have to eliminate drunkenness from our roads. This is a serious campaign and we are going to imprison people,” the CS warned.
The ministry has already procured four gadgets, while 10 more are on the way as a pilot project goes on Langata Road, Waiyaki Way and other black spots in Nairobi.
As festive season sets in, the CS urged motorists to have designated drivers when they know they are going to drink.
“Most of these accidents are as a result of disregard of traffic laws which include over-speeding, overloading and dangerous driving among others,” he regretted.
According to the ministry, some 5,937 road accidents have been recorded in the country between January 2013 to date.
Further, data from the department of traffic shows that 3,018 lives were lost on the roads in the process including 1,402 pedestrians, 758 passengers, 309 motorists, 272 drivers, 150 motorcycle travellers and 127 pedal cyclists.
In January 2006 the High court suspended the use of the gadgets after motorists complained that their rights were being breached and were exposed to health risks.
“The new breathalyzer is modern and high-tech,” Kamau assured, “It has addressed hygiene concerns since the officers administering tests on motorists will use disposable mouth pieces when checking the level of alcohol in the breath.”
Kamau said the results for the test are instant as it is fitted to a printer, and a driver is only required to breath into a disposable plastic mouth piece and gets a print out complete with data of the amount of alcohol in their body.
“In the event the tests turn out positive, a motorist is arrested, taken to hospital and their blood and urine tested, and further if the lab tests confirm the initial tests, the affected persons are prosecuted for two-year jail term or the mentioned fine; or both,” said Kamau who added, he can only campaign for an alcohol free driving,” Kamau explained the process.
Kamau was accompanied by Transport Principal Secretary, Nduva Muli, Traffic Commandant, Samuel Kimaru, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Chairman, Lee Kinyanjui among other ministry.
The drink-driving campaign will be carried out in all the major urban centres.