Following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s signing of the Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2021 into law, breathalysers, often known as Alcoblows, will be making a comeback on the roads starting tonight (Sunday).
According to the new law, drivers who are caught driving while intoxicated will be fined up to Sh100,000, a two-year prison sentence, or both.
A breathalyzer analyzes a sample of breath to determine the amount of alcohol in the subject’s blood.
The law requires that no driver should handle a motor vehicle if he or she has consumed alcohol in excess of 35 micrograms in 100 millilitres of breath, 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath and 107 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine.
While drivers of public service vehicles are fully barred from consuming alcohol and should have a test result of zero, private vehicle drivers are permitted 0.35 micrograms of maximum intoxication.
The Traffic Act of 2013 Amendment Bill was passed by the National Assembly before the House was dissolved in June.
“A person who, when driving or attempting to drive, or in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place is under the influence of an alcoholic drink or a drug beyond the prescribed limits, shall be guilty of an offense,” the new law reads.
The user of breathalysers was prohibited in 2017 on the basis that the execution of the rules establishing its use were inconsistent with the Traffic Act.
A three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal, consisting of Justices GBM Kariuki, Fatuma Sichale, and Festus Azangalala, ordered parliament to reconsider the law after a petitioner questioned the usage of the breathalysers.