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Daily Nation : February 16th 2014
SUNDAY NATION February 16, 2014 ALCOHOL TEST | Night of drama as drunken motorists make dangerous U-turns to escape arrest Drivers nabbed in Valentine’s Alcoblow swoop 0.35pc BY KENFREY KIBERENGE @KenKiberenge firstname.lastname@example.org U-turns, seven were arrested while several others were let off the hook in a dramatic night where government officials busted drunk drivers in a bid to curb runaway road carnage. This is the tale of a Friday F night out in the Westlands area of Nairobi where the National Transport and Safety Authority had set up a joint Alcoblow operation with the police. On Valentine’s Day, West- lands’ nightclubs were teeming with revelers, and parking lots were filled with vehicles. Few drivers imagined what awaited them. As we made our way at half past midnight to a sport near the Sankara Hotel on Woodvale Grove where we had been told the roadblock would be set up, we came across a convoy of the five police and NTSA vehicles; it was clear these were the people we were looking for. We trailed them up to the junction of Westlands and Mukinduri roads where they parked on the feeder road. Police Inspector Noor Mo- hammed, who was leading the operation, immediately flagged down the first approaching motorist and ordered him out of the car. Confidently, the male motorist walked toward the NTSA official administering the alcohol test and was given a wrapped mouthpiece which after blowing into indicated he had not taken any alcohol. “Are you guys surprised?” bragged the motorist as he made his way back to his car. The next motorist hit the accelerator and almost ran over a female police officer. A few minutes later, a male officer flagged down a motorist. The officer conducted the initial test of sniffing the air inside car. If no smell of alcohol is detected, motorists are given a clean bill of health. But if there is even a tinge of alcohol, the driver has to take the breathalyser test. In this case, the female mo- torist in her mid-twenties was told to blow into the breathalyser; it took her five attempts to manage the amount of breath required. The test showed she had 0.21 per cent of alcohol. The specified limit is 0.35 per cent. “Uko sawa nenda ulale,” Inspector Mohammed informed her. Moments later, a seemingly sober man also in his mid-twenties took the test that showed he had 0.36 per cent alcohol in his blood —exceeding the limit by a paltry 0.01 percentage point. He was not lucky. “If you exceed by even a sin- gle point you’ll be a guest of the state,” a police offer told him. He was booked and instructed to call a friend to to pick up his “The authority is aware that drunk motorists are prone to make errors in judgement. There is a lot of fear of being arrested but we do not have any case where an officer has been injured,” our motorists nearly ran over traffic policemen; five made dangerous car. Following complaints by motorists on exorbitant breakdown charges, the government has resorted to asking the arrested drivers to find someone drive their cars home. Another motorist in a Navara took the test and he was cleared to drive on. Minutes later, a car with loud music approached and three officers swung into action. The driver disappoints them as he has not taken a single drop but he was ordered to lower the volume. At 12:41a.m., a driver was yanked out of his Subaru and staggered to the testing spot. It turns out he had a whopping 1.05 per cent alcohol in his breath. He was thrown into the police Land Cruiser where he immediately fell asleep on the bench. About 100 metres away, a motorist was seen frantically reversing his car and quickly made a dangerous U-turn oblivious of other motorists. “Huyo ni mlevi ,” said an officer. The driver narrowly escaped. Another motorist emerging from Mukinduri Road spotted the police car from 100 metres away and slammed on the brakes. It took him almost two min- utes to make a U-turn, and he escaped. At 12:53 a.m., a motorist in a Mercedez Benz defied a stop order and sped off, pushing an officer to the side with his side mirror. According to NTSA chair- man Lee Kinyanjui (below), the authority is aware that drunk motorists are prone to make errors in judgement. “There is a lot of fear of being arrested, but we do not have any case where an officer has been injured,” he says. Minutes later, a visibly shaken woman in her early twenties took the test that indicated she had 0.67 per cent. She was booked at 1 a.m. Another young woman narrowly escaped with a reading of 0.35 per cent. “I have taken just one beer meaning an extra sip would have landed me in trouble,” she said before driving off. Another man was tested and CRACKDOWN Danger to police officers showed he had 0.13; he was cleared to leave. Meanwhile, several friends of the arrested motorists showed up and drove off with various cars. At 1:28, there was a scuffle between a 21-year-old man in a saloon car and a police officer. The man attempted to drive off, but he was too drunk, which gave the officer time to grab the car keys. The man staggered to the e testing area where he registered 0.91 per cent. Asked if he had a friend who could drive his Blood alcohol level allowed on Kenyan roads. Drivers whose alcohol levels were higher were arrested. Sunday Review 23 car home, he called to a friend in the car who was even more intoxicated. “You’re better off. Call a sober person,” Inspector Mohammed told him. He then phoned his father who came and took the car home.
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