Revised traffic laws allowing police to deploy breathalyzers come into force »Capital News

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 11 – A harmonized traffic code aimed at taming drink-driving is now operational following presidential approval on June 21.

The law came into effect on Monday, July 11.

The Traffic (Amendment) Act 2022 has been revised to resolve a conflict with the Traffic (Breaty Testing) Rules 2011 which criminalized drunk driving, an offense which the main Act did not provide for.

While the Highway Traffic Act made drink-driving an offense only if updating the alcohol impaired a driver’s ability to competently control a vehicle, the breathalyzer rules set a threshold beyond which drivers were considered to be “intoxicated beyond the legal limit”, and therefore in violation of the law.

The revised Traffic Act sought to reconcile drink-driving legislation by introducing a two-year prison term and a fine of Sh100,000 for drivers whose alcohol level exceeds the prescribed limits.

A replaced section 44(1) reads: “Any person who, while driving or attempting to drive, or being in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, is under the influence alcoholic drink or drug beyond the prescribed dose. limits, shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand or to imprisonment for not exceeding two years or both.

The amended provisions sponsored by Tiaty MP William Kamket originated from a 2014 petition which was heard in both the High Court (2014) and the Court of Appeal (2017).

While the High Court rejected an argument by the claimants (Dickson Ogendo, Kariuki Ruitha and Reminisce Bar and Grill) that the alcoblow rules had introduced a new offense which was not provided for in the main statute, the Court of appeal supported the argument.

The Court of Appeal ruled on efforts by the police to continue enforcing the breathalyzer rules, which imposed a fine of 10,000 shillings and a month’s imprisonment.

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