Arrive Alive

Drunk Driving and the Blood Test

Blood Test

The district surgeon, registered nurse or a prison medical officer will take a specimen of an arrested driver's blood, which is then submitted to a state laboratory for scientific analysis. The analysis enables an expert to ascertain the presence and estimated quantity of alcohol in the person's blood at the time of the examination. If the specimen is taken within two hours of the commission of the alleged offence then, if the alcohol concentration of the specimen is not less than 0,05g per 100ml, the alcohol concentration in the blood at the time of the alleged offence will be presumed to have been not less than 0,05g per 100ml. In terms of the amendment to the Road Traffic Act, the same presumption is made where the concentration of any alcohol in any specimen of breath exhaled by a person is not less than 0,38mg per 1000ml. However, the concentration in any breath specimen shall be ascertained by using the prescribed equipment. For this reason, the blood specimen will almost always be taken within two hours after the arrest.

A person arrested for one of the drink-and-drive offences is not entitled to refuse permission for a blood specimen to be taken. People authorised to take specimens are a medical officer of a prison, a district surgeon or, if requested to do so by a police official, a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse.

Before the court can consider the results of the blood analysis, the state must prove that the analysis was made by an expert who had the necessary skill and that the specimen analysed was that of the accused. This is almost always done by means of an affidavit by the expert who performed the analysis. If the accused decides to challenge the facts contained in the affidavit, the expert may be called to give oral evidence.

If the specimen was contaminated in any way, the results of the analysis might not coincide with the actual alcohol concentration in the blood. For this reason precautions will be taken to prevent, for instance, the cleaning of the syringe or skin with alcohol. The Road Traffic Act, however, creates a presumption that once evidence of the analysis of the specimen is presented, it is presumed that the syringe used for obtaining the specimen and the receptacle in which the specimen was sent for analysis were not contaminated by something that could have affected the result. It is then for the accused to prove the contrary. (This presumption, however, goes against the presumption of innocence specified in the bill of rights and would thus probably not be relied upon by the state in a prosecution.) mens rea in the form of culpa (negligence) is an element of these offences. (See criminal liability or responsibility.)

Therefore, if an accused claims to have been unaware of having imbibed alcohol and if a reasonable person in a similar position would also not have known of this, it will be regarded as a valid defence.

An arrested driver can request that his or her medical practitioner be present when the blood specimen is taken.

Loading...

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Vehicle Recovery and Road Safety

Vehicle Recovery and Road Safety

Recovery of Vehicles after an Accident / Dealing with Tow Truck Operators Background Information Tow truck operators provide a valuable service to the motoring public. They are quite often the first to arrive at the scene of an accident and have been known on many occasions to provide assistance

Read More

Road Safety Tips for the Festive Season from ArriveAlive.co.za

Road Safety Tips for the Festive Season from ArriveAlive.co.za

Obey the rules of the road and carry your driver’s license with you. Plan the route to your holiday destination and allow yourself enough time to reach the destination Make sure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before departure. All lights and indicators, windscreens, windscreen

Read More

Texting and Distracted Driving

Texting and Distracted Driving

Introduction and Background Distracted driving is described as an epidemic sweeping our roads. This topic is receiving much attention internationally and we would like to discuss in this section of the Arrive Alive website the global impact and the risks of texting and driving! It has been revealed

Read More

The Basic Steering and Suspension Layouts

The Basic Steering and Suspension Layouts

Steering Rack / Rack & Pinion The Steering Rack is the assembly in a vehicle which turns the vehicle’s wheels from side to side in response to when the driver turns the steering wheel. The Steering Rack is what helps you steer when you drive. Common Rack & Pinion Steering Problems: Very

Read More

Child Restraints and Road Safety

Child Restraints and Road Safety

Introduction to Child Restraints and Road Safety Increasing motorization worldwide has brought more crashes and injuries to vehicle occupants, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. One of the most effective measures to protect occupants from injury in the event of a crash is the fitment

Read More

Car Seats for Children and Road Safety in South Africa

Car Seats for Children and Road Safety in South Africa

Introduction: New legislation in South Africa is addressing a void which has for a number of years frustrated all those so deeply concerned with the safety of our children on the roads. The void referred to was specifically with regards to child passengers [infants] younger than 3 years old. Although

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All