28 January 2014

Kenya: Breathalyser Gets 100 in Court for Drink Driving

OVER 100 motorists were yesterday arraigned in court charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The motorists failed the breathalyser test at roadblocks mounted in the city over the weekend.

Among them was the famous Tahidi High School actor TK Kitana aka 'Kilunda' and the Auditor General Public Relations Officer Wilfred Marube. A magistrate from Kisii, Charles Kamau was also to be charged however by the time of going to press he had not taken plea.

His charge sheet read that on 25 of January along Kasarani Mwiki road being driver of Prado KAZ 807E drove the vehicle under the influence of alcohol but was out on a police bond of Sh20,000.

Kitana pleaded guilty to the charge. In mediation, he told the court he was remorseful and he will not repeat it again. He urged the court to release him on a cash bail of Sh20,000 or a six months imprisonment.

Senior Principal Magistrate Enoch Chirchir released the offenders on a cash bail of Sh20,000 or spends six months behind bars adding it should be a warning to others.

The breatherlizer gadget was first introduced in 2006 before being stopped by courts and later in 2010 and later in 2011. Transport Cabinet secretary Michael Kamau said there have been 5,937 road accidents since January that claimed 3,018 lives.

These include 1,402 pedestrians, 758 passengers, 309 motorists, 272 drivers, 150 pillion (boda boda) passengers and 127 pedal cyclists. The ministry reintroduced breathalyzers in Kenyan roads in December last year to curb increasing accidents.

"From now on anyone found driving under the influence of alcohol will attract a fine of Sh100,000 or a jail term of one year or both," said Kamau during the launch of the gadgets on December 17, 2013.

At a press conference attended by the Traffic Commandant, Samwel Kimaru and National Traffic Safety Authority Chairman, Lee Kinyanjui, Kamau said police officers would be stationed strategically so that they can test drivers for alcohol when they are in their cars with the intention of driving.

The breathalyzer is fitted with a printer which extracts a report of the extent of the drunkenness of the driver. The driver, if found not fit to drive, would be taken to hospital for further tests and eventually to court. Kamau said that the breathalyzer was modern, high-tech and hygienic.

"This is because police officers using the gadget will use disposable mouth pieces for different drivers," he said. The breathalyzer was reintroduced into the Kenyan roads years after its first attempt was quashed in court over its unhygienic nature.

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