Kenyans to decide whether alcoblow will return to roads

If adopted, all motorists who will demonstrate non-permissible limits of blood alcohol concentration will be arrested and their driving licenses suspended for at least six months.

These are some of the proposals NTSA wants made to the Traffic (Drunk Driving) Rules, 2023 and The Motor Vehicle Inspection Regulations, 2023 under the Traffic Act.

The breathalysers were banned from the roads last year after the Court of Appeal ruled that they were illegal.

"According to the views we have got on alcoblow, they want it back quickly to minimise many accidents that are happening on our roads," said Samuel Musumba, manager in charge of road safety programmes at NTSA.

In the new proposals by NTSA, in addition to a fine of Sh100,000, any person found driving when drunk will have their driver's driving license suspended for six months.

Also, any driver or vehicle other than a public service vehicle, commercial service vehicle or school transport service vehicle driver, who is convicted more than once in a year for an offence under section 44(1) of the Act shall have their driving license suspended.

However, Kenyans have chance to adopt these proposals during the on-going public participation meetings organised by NTSA across the country.

Once the views from the 47 counties are captured, they will be taken to Parliament to be enacted into law.

Musumba was speaking during a public participation event on Friday at Utalii Hotel in Nairobi where they received views from Kenyans from four metropolitan counties of Nairobi including Machakos, Kiambu and Kajiado.

If adopted, the police shall ensure the breathalyser are properly calibrated according to manufacturer's directions to avoid any complaints of tampering.

Calibration is the process of configuring an instrument to provide a result for a sample within an acceptable range.

According to the proposals, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport in consultation with KeBS shall approve a device for measuring the proportion of alcohol content in a person's blood from a specimen of breath provided by a suspect.

Also, a police officer shall always ensure that the use of the breathalyser device is hygienic by ensuring single use of breathalyser straw for each individual driver being tested.

Refusal to provide a specimen when required to do so by a police officer shall be an offence and a person shall be demanded to be over the prescribed limit and subject to the penalties as contained in Section 44(1).

During the meeting, participants also suggested that apart from alcohol drunk driving stimulants including miraa, bhang and others should also be noted to be cause of accidents.

NTSA has also proposed that vehicle inspection will now not only involve Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and commercial vehicles motorcycles (boda boda), tuk-tuks and also private cars that are more than four years old from the recorded date of manufacture.

According to reports by NTSA, over 4,000 Kenyans died on the roads in 2022 alone.