Posted on 23-04-2012
Filed Under (Industry News) by Chloe Davies

The South African Law Society has welcomed a ruling stating that law enforcement officials may not make an arrest on the sole suspicion that a motorist smells of alcohol.

Johannes Swart was taken into custody in 2007, when officers assumed he was inebriated.

However, when his blood alcohol level turned out to be well below the legal limit, he successfully sued the safety and security ministry.

The Western Cape High Court judgment has since been upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The Law Society’s William Booth said: “This sends out a clear message to authorities that they have to be very cautious before they arrest somebody for any kind of offence and certainly for an offence of driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.”

According to Arrive Alive, drunk driving is one of the major threats to road safety in the country.

Research shows that 50 percent of people who die on the roads have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05g per 100ml.

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