LEPHALALE — If someone is arrested for drunken driving, the police are supposed to keep the person in the holding cells for up to four hours or until they are sober. If the person is still not sober after four hours, the officer in command must use his/her discretion as to whether detain them further.
Lt Col Daniel Ramkgoakgoa, Lephalale SAPS Station Commander, said at the meeting of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) held on Thursday 16 February, that the police use breathalysers as a guideline to determine whether a driver’s blood alcohol levels are too high, but a blood test should be done at the provincial hospital.
He said that he has never experienced any problems at the hospital with blood alcohol tests.
“When there is an accident scene and the officer on the scene has his doubts about the alcohol levels, report the case” he said.
Mr Pilusa, Lephalale Municipality Traffic Head said they repeatedly find that the very same offender who gets released from the holding cells, goes straight from the police station and continues drinking and driving and then gets involved in an accident. Pilusa says a person who gets arrested for drinking and driving should be handled the same way as any other suspect who gets arrested.
“The offender should stay in the holding cell until he/she appears in court” he said.
It was also stated that there is currently a serious gap in the judicial system and that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Lephalale should intervene to assist the traffic officials as well as the police.