PW 1305 Drink driving in south africa (western cape province) and measures to suppress the scourge

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Abstract

The disparity between drink driving law enforcement capacity and legal system sophistication in a highly developed 350-year-old legal framework, yet developing nation often results in challenges to the system.

This necessitates the authorities to sometimes force test cases in courts of law to obtain precedent. As happened in the case of State vs Hendricks in the Western Cape High Court in 2011 where evidential breath alcohol testing was driven to the limit. This then guides practice in a way that ensures compliance and dictates procedures that will drive successful prosecutions.

Often time consuming but in the end beneficial to society at large. Personal involvement and constitutional based evidence to reinforce Government’s role to ensure effective prosecution was given. The ensuing judgement brought about major changes to not only legislation and regulation but also the development of new scientific standards that would lead to new standard operating procedures, technical machinery used and training of officers to ensure positive outcomes.

This involvement and procedure will be explained as benchmark. However, linked to this enforcement practice and despite the law being clear, the issue of marginality of impairment and culpability, linked to the seriousness of the offence, it is often prudent to consider diversion out of the legal system for certain categories of offenders.

Personal engagement in a Non-Governmental Organisation, yet government supported diversion programme will be highlighted in terms of demographics and outcomes that will indicate that all alternatives need to be explored and the letter- and spirit- of the law philosophies need expression.

The value added to society and general compliance with the law by way of the oft perceived soft approach can be directed to achieve more voluntary compliance with the law than by the greater fearful wielding of the proverbial big stick.

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