Does a person conducting a breathalyser test require a competency certificate in order to perform the test?

Question:

Does a person conducting a breathalyser test require a competency certificate in order to successfully conduct a breathalyser test and are breathalyser results still valid if the person conducting the test does not have a competency certificate for that specific device but had informal training on the use of the device?

I would really appreciate your advice or opinion on this and if you could refer me to any relevant legislation relating to this.

Answer:

Thanks very much for the enquiry submitted to Arrive Alive.

To the best of my knowledge, for Law Enforcement purposes, yes the operator must have passed an operator’s course for the particular model of breathalyser used.

This is dealt with in the ‘Prosecuting Guidelines for Evidentiary Breath Testing Machines (“EBTMs”)’. This requirement does not apply to general workplace / industry testing.

In the second section of the guidelines, which deal specifically with the use of “EBTMs”, it consists of five sub-sections which read:

“2.1       The equipment may only be operated by a registered traffic officer who must have passed an operator’s course for the particular model of the machine and must be issued with an operator’s certificate of competence.

2.2         The operator must keep in his/her possession the operator’s certificate for the equipment in question or a certified copy.

2.3         Only the equipment which complies with Regulation 332(4) of the Regulations in terms of the national Road Traffic Act may be used.  Equipment must be calibrated at least once every six months by an accredited laboratory and a calibration certificate issued.  A certified copy of the calibration certificate shall be available on site.  Equipment that is outside the six month period must be recalibrated before it may be used for calibration purposes.

2.4         After maintenance and repair of the equipment, it must be recalibrated.

2.5         All calibrations, maintenance and repairs shall be recorded in an appropriate service record, which is kept for each unit.”

Kind regards,

Angus MacArthur

Alcohol Breathalysers CC, 25 St John Road, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, 2198

Also view:

Drunk Driving and Road Safety

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